For many people, alcohol is a pleasant accompaniment to social activities. Moderate alcohol use-up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people-is not harmful for most adults.
Nonetheless, a large number of people get into serious trouble because of their drinking. Currently, nearly 14 million Americans-1 in every 13 adults-abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Several million more adults engage in risky drinking that could lead to alcohol problems. The World Health Organization estimates that about 140 million people throughout the world suffer from alcohol dependence.
The consequences of alcohol misuse are serious-in many cases, life threatening. Heavy drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers. Heavy drinking can also cause liver cirrhosis, immune system problems, brain damage, and harm to the fetus during pregnancy. In addition, drinking increases the risk of death from automobile crashes as well as recreational and on-the-job injuries.
Furthermore, both homicides and suicides are more likely to be committed by persons who have been drinking. In purely economic terms, alcohol-related problems cost society approximately $185 billion per year. In human terms, the costs cannot be calculated.
I say World Temperance Day is a worthy cause and deserves to be part of the Holiday Canon.
Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.G. K. Chesterton