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Alcohol Related Deaths Decrease When Taxes Raised

One of the most attractive things about alcohol – especially to kids – is the low cost. Kids can buy a six-pack for less than their lunch money. True, it’s not the best quality beer out there, but it’s beer. However, a recent study found that even a small price hike in alcohol taxes can significantly lower the number of deaths cause by alcohol. If it can do that, it obviously also lowers the amount of drinking being done, the possibility of alcohol addiction, and the need for alcohol addiction help.

The study was based on alcohol taxes in Alaska. When the taxes were raised on alcohol in 1983, the death rate dropped by a staggering (no pun intended) 29%. When the alcohol taxes were raised again in 2002, the death rate again went down by 11%.

The alcohol-related deaths examined in the study were varied – everything from cirrhosis and chronic pancreatitis as it takes years of drinking to develop these problems so would apply to an older crown, to alcohol poisoning, which is more likely to happen with a younger crowd that does some serious binge drinking. The study didn’t include motor vehicle and other accidents.

When Finland lowered their taxes in 2004, people drank 50% more, alcohol-related arrests went up 11%, and the death toll increased by 11%.

Most of the states haven’t raised alcohol taxes in 20 years. The executive director of the American Beverage Licensees said that raising alcohol taxes in the U.S. would have a “highly negative effect on the economy.” Big deal. Just another example of the choke hold industry has on the country. Big Pharma’s another one. No matter how many billions of dollars Big Pharma pays out on lawsuits, the industry is never called upon to reform.

When are we going to get our priorities straight? Has it never occured to anyone that a country with fewer drinkers and drug addicts might have more people able to produce something that would strengthen the economy? And how much money would we save on health insurance, prisons, police, health care, property damage, addiction help services, etc.

If saving lives doesn’t mean enough to put the choke hold where it belongs – on the industries themselves – surely the money should be a motivation.

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