Top News in Alcohol: 12.7.22

Alcohol and the World Cup
According to a recent article posted on CNN.com, “… no alcohol would be sold at the eight stadiums which will host the tournament’s 64 matches. Alcohol will only be served in designated fan parks and other licensed venues around Doha, FIFA said in a statement.” This is not a new rule as the same applies in France, Spain, Portugal, and Scotland, where no beer is allowed in stadiums at all- if those countries can survive without a drink for 3 whole hours while watching a match, why can’t the U.S.?

Reuters covered this same story in a different light, reporting that female fans feel safe at Qatar World Cup thanks to reduced alcohol consumption. As noted in the aforementioned article, intoxication due to the overserving of alcohol at sporting events and the link between public disturbances and violence has been of great concern and we already know that several studies (just a few here, here, and here) have linked major sporting events to an increase in reports of domestic violence, “It is well known that incidences of abuse and violence increase when teams lose, but there are also more reported incidences when they win.”

Then is stands to reason, why is masculinity and sports fueled by alcohol? Al Jazeera even posed that question with their recent article, “Beer, Sport, Men: Inside the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Alcohol Marketing” which states that the link between the 3 and the violence towards women that results is truly led by the desire of the markets and the money to be made therein. Thankfully, the urge toward decoupling the worlds of alcohol and sports is on the rise, with profit motives now leaning toward inclusivity and a shift away from the more “toxic” and violent elements of the culture.

Alcohol and Cancer
Medscape reports “Less Than a Third of Americans Aware of Cancer Risk From Alcohol.” (Today also reported the same.) This, unfortunately, is not new news. Alcohol has been proven to cause seven different cancers and- due to our society’s deep entanglement with big corporations and revenue- no one is made aware of that fact as it is not a part of alcohol’s marketing. Cigarettes, on the other hand, come with a big “may cause cancer” therefore = bad label and look how long that took. Yet, given all the research that’s out there, Americans are still unaware of the health implications from consuming even one drop of alcohol.

Alcohol is a Class 1 Carcinogen, that’s the same category as asbestos, meth, and plutonium- YES all those things cause cancer. Would society accept, “Oh I just do a little bit of meth on the weekend.” or, “I only have a small glass of plutonium on special occasions.” No, no one would, but that same message as it pertains to alcohol is, unfortunately, not a part of our culture- we inherently encourage, support, and applaud use. “Educating the public about how alcohol increases cancer risk will not only empower consumers to make more informed decisions but may also prevent and reduce excessive alcohol use, as well as cancer morbidity and mortality.”

Alcohol and College Students
For some good news, PortCityDaily reports that a UNCW professor has been awarded funds to study the ways binge-drinking effects youth. Binge drinking increases with each adolescent year, peaking at age 21. According to the article, 17% of adolescents report having an episode of binge drinking by their senior year of high school; that number nearly doubles to 35% by age 21 thanks to the college experience.

While this study will reflect just a small population in North Carolina, it will certainly add to the bigger conversation that has been gaining momentum regarding the negative effects of drinking among youth resulting in an increase of sexual assaults against women and drinking and driving accidents- of these incidents, a staggering 50% are linked to alcohol consumption. In fact, according to the CDC, binge drinking also results in the death of one in every eight adults in the United States.

In other countries, however, according to TheConversation, young people in rich countries are drinking less alcohol while elsewhere youth drinking is on the rise. “Alcohol has become for young people something that’s gone from being… a reward and pursued, to something that’s really avoided.” I find this is true among my children (aged 16 and 17) and their friends here in the San Francisco Bay Area- gen Z does not want to drink alcohol! As a parent, and as a newly sober human, this is truly good news!

Alcohol and Travel
Not really news but I had to share this piece from the Insider: “Alcohol is a common factor in man-overboard incidents, a cruise industry expert says: ‘It’s a problem waiting to happen’. Alright, I’m no cruise industry expert but I can wholeheartedly tell you that uh, YEAH I would think so!

I started looking further and this whole drunk-man-overboard situation is more of an issue than one would think. Just 5 days ago this happened (the passenger was “not drunk” but “couldn’t really say” how much he consumed), in November another drunk man fell overboard, and in September a passenger was so intoxicated (by 8am) that he purposefully jumped overboard.

According to an article by The New York Times, alcohol is a factor in at least 11 percent of falls from cruise ships, which often offer all-inclusive drink packages that encourage drinking onboard. While drunk passengers aboard cruise ships bear responsibility for their actions, so do cruise ships that continue to overserve.

The cruise industry’s health and safety practices found not just an increase, but an atomic explosion of scrutiny upon the introduction Covid-19 and they have made adjustments as a result including raising railings and training staff not to serve those visibly drunk. Nevertheless, cruise lines- with their sheer massiveness in size and people aboard- still hold dangers that even their governing body (Cruise Lines International Association) with all the rules and regulations in place, cannot control.

Alcohol and You
What are your thoughts on the above topics as they relate to your experiences with alcohol? Do you think alcohol sales restrictions during sporting events would fly here in the U.S.? Why or why not? And do you think that removing sales during game play truly makes a positive difference?

What are your thoughts around the health implications of drinking as noted above? Do you think the link to alcohol and cancer will become more a part of national discussion on drinking? When I first stopped drinking, I started reading all about it, and only then was I made aware of the cancer connection. At 48 it may be too late for me but at least I am able to educate my kids away from it with scientifically backed reasons why… which leads right into…

Binge drinking in college- I can most definitely relate! My drinking career began freshman year of college, most weekends dedicated to drinking, many bad choices made, yet it is so good to see the sobriety movement make its way to the U.S. thanks to gen Z! If you have (or work with) teenagers, have you noticed the same? Given the topic of drugs, has alcohol made it to the curriculum in your school district? It has not in mine, but I am working on a way to see that it does…

Please share your thoughts! Any good alcohol and/or recovery related news stories you’ve read this week?

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