Parenting today requires a degree of understanding the issues that face our families, our spouses, and even our children. This also includes educating ourselves on the issues where we exercise our fundamental right to vote “Yea” or “Nay”. One such measure that comes before us is Initiative 1183 and the deregulation of State operated Liquor stores. Bear in mind, the Marysville Parenting Examiner does not endorse, nor discourage how one ought to vote on this issue. However, what is presented here is certain factual findings that all parents within the Marysville community ought to consider when they cast their vote in favor of 1183 or against 1183.
Fact Finding and Report from the CDC
The Center for Disease control published its 2010 findings at the beginning of October. In their Vital Signs publication, the report opens up with startling, and scary statistics:
US adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times in 2010. Though episodes of driving after drinking too much … have gone down by 30% during the past 5 years, it remains a serious problem in the US. Alcohol-impaired drivers are involved in about 1 in 3 crash deaths, resulting in nearly 11,000 deaths in 2009.
Now, when the Center for Disease control comes out with such findings, it is something that should not be waved away. We have to take into consideration how our choice will impact our communities, our family, and our children. Furthermore, when we look at the report that CDC had published, we find the following information:
· 81% of the male populations were responsible for 4 in 5 episodes of drinking and driving in 2010.
· 11% were young men ages 21-34 that were responsible for 32% of all instances of drinking and driving.
· 85% of drinking and driving episodes were reported by people who also reported binge drinking.
The issue, as one reads the fact sheet from the CDC, is not whether or not alcohol is purchased at a state liquor, or general grocery store, the ease of access for young people under the legal age to purchase alcohol, but the reality that many do drink, and then decide to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Is it Yea or Nay?
The proponents for No on 1183 are making the claim that there is a major corporation (identified as Costco) that is pushing for a state initiative to be passed with regards to deregulating State Liquor stores in Washington State, and allow consumerism and competitive consumerism to allow grocery stores to sell hard liquor. They also claim that this will open up the possibility that corner-gas-station and mini-groceries will have an increase of underage drinking and consumption. Whether this is true or not, the reality is that underage, drinking will occur regardless of where the alcohol is purchased. In fact, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled Dad, I prefer the Shiraz on March 8, 2011. Melinda Beck provides statistics that came from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
Nearly 6% of 12- to 14-year-olds (some 700,000 middle-schoolers) drank alcohol in the past month. And nearly 45% of them got it free at home, including 16% who obtained it from a parent or guardian, according to a report released last month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The survey doesn’t report how much alcohol was involved or what the circumstances were.
In a different report that is found on the same website, and a report titled – Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking – we find the following statement:
Underage alcohol use remains a challenging public health and public safety problem with severe consequences for youth and their families, communities, and society. Alcohol accounts for more deaths than all other illicit drugs combined for those under 21 years of age. Nevertheless, a lack of public recognition of the sometimes devastating consequences of underage alcohol use and its personal, economic, and social costs hampers implementation of a comprehensive prevention effort.
What this translates to is not an issue of where and how the alcohol beverage(s) are purchased, or by whom, the issue is that we must educate ourselves on the issues of underage drinking and how it affects our local community. This is where responsible parenting begins, and the article in the Wall Street Journal addresses. Parents should not allow their child to consume alcohol based on the myth that if they just allow and moderate alcohol consumption in their own home, then it would help them become responsible drinkers. This is a myth because it may ignite a potential addiction to alcohol that has lasting and devastating effects on the family, the community, and human service workers.
Those who are for deregulating the State Liquor stores base their reasoning on the fact that by doing so will help revitalize Washington State economics and revenue, while at the same time updating existing liquor laws. Their argument, and rebuttal, is that it will enforce current state and federal mandates to protect underage drinking, and in some cases provide appropriate measures to protect Washington State citizens from the harm of underage drinking.
Parents right and responsibility
As parents, we have the right and responsibility to vote conscientiously as to how we view and understand the issues. By educating ourselves on the dangers of underage drinking, the potential addiction to alcohol through permissive parenting tactics some take, brings to light the real issue of 1183.
The question, therefore is not whether voting no on 1183 or voting yes on 1183 will create more good or harm in our local communities, it is a basis for us to understand how alcohol affects us over all. We should investigate the facts for ourselves, make the appropriate decision based on how we understand and interpret those facts.
If one wants to vote no, because they feel it poses a danger, then it ought to be based on the reality that alcoholism and addiction to alcohol is still a grappling issue in American Society. Yet, if one wants to vote yes, understanding that there is a real issue of alcohol and addiction to alcohol, including underage drinking, but view this as a means to help promote a more viable and prosperous state, then that decision is up to that individual.
Again, the purpose of this article is to bring awareness of the real issue surrounding 1183 and provide an alternative perspective for parents to make an informed decision. Exercise your right to vote based on not what one side says over the other, but based on how one understands and rightly interprets the facts. Be responsible parents for our families, our children, and our community.