Alcohol is dangerous to the health of the drinker, to families, to innocent drivers, to youth, and to the unborn. Thanks to this session of the ND legislature, stiffer penalties will now be imposed on impaired drivers.

Since 1970, 3,400 Americans have died of terrorism---that is 43 years!  In the past year, over 34,000 Americans have died of gun deaths, some of those deaths were random, some accidental, some suicide, some murder.  In just the past  month over 3,531 have been killed by guns---more than died when the World Trade Center collapsed, and only one fewer than the total combat deaths in Iraq!  By the time these facts show in this blog, there will be more as many die each day of causes unrelated to terrorists.  

The US has too many preventable deaths due to alcohol.  The CDC reports over 75,000 alcohol related deaths per year.  Of those, 39% are auto accidents involving alcohol.  One third of suicides are alcohol related.  In addition, there are accidents in the work place and home as the results of falls and poor judgment.  We do not have an accurate count on domestic assault or the innocent (mostly) women and children who are hurt when the spouse/boyfriend/father drinks and gets mean, or the many alcohol related brawls or assaults on the street.  We do not have statistics on the number of children not cared for or who go hungry due to their mother's drinking, but a quick scan of the newspaper shows it occurs far too often.  Most gang related violence is fueled by alcohol. How many show up in the emergency room either drunk or as a result of someone else's drinking behavior?   And how many deaths from diseases are not listed as caused by alcohol?  Cirrhosis is obvious, but studies now show cancers, heart diseases are also caused by alcohol.

Home grown terrorism, sold and consumed as Happy Hour! 

North Dakota has one of the highest ratios of fatalities to accidents caused by alcohol.  North Dakota has an Alcohol Culture.  North Dakota has a major health care challenge related to alcohol.  North Dakota has lost too many young people to drinking.  North Dakota has too many children born impaired due to their mother's drinking.  Studies show that in the US, about half of women NEVER drink alcohol.  These are not prudes; these are women who care about their health and see no need to use chemicals to "relax."

There is no safe level of alcohol consumption when it comes to pregnancy!  

There is no safe level of alcohol consumption when one is going to drive.

Alcohol is NOT a private matter; it is a public health issue.  It costs the public over $114.3 Million per year in health care costs, law inforcement, family destruction, and accidents resulting in property damaage.

The North Dakota legislature is to be commended for recenlty increasing fines and penaltities for Driving Under the Influence.  It is a small step, but a necessary step in the right direction, and I say "Thank You."