Ok, let's hear your opinion. I'm not sure about mine.
Ideally, no one would be want to be drinking so much alcohol that they could roll around and puke, pass out and/or drive into some innocent person. I think of alcohol as a drug with risks and benefits, just like (for instance) Prozac and Tylenol. So, sure, if your doctor tells you to have a glass of wine with your dinner for some health benefit, you would do so. Or you would self-medicate a certain amount for your health in the same way that most of us sane people might occasionally take a Tylenol for a headache.
I'd like to think that most people are reasonable people, but I've been to college.
No, I don't mean that you need to be more educated to understand the risks of overconsumption; I just mean "I've been to college." Heavy drinking happens on just about any night of the week you could imagine. It's cultural. I think I got over the whole novel idea of drinking alcohol as a lifestyle somewhere around my second semester as a freshman. By then, I had figured out that I could do whatever I wanted whether it was legal or not, and it got boring. Yawn.
A young man joining a fraternity was not so lucky, and died. There were a lot of factors that led to this, but let's just say that in retrospect, I don't imagine having hundreds of people fresh from Mama's house and supervision, suddenly living all together in their own community of peers is such a hot idea. These are the same "kids" who, just a few months before, had to ask permission to go potty at school. Maybe that's just me thinking aloud... but there seems no middle ground between kindergarteners and high school seniors in terms of freedoms granted/ responsibility learned in public school. (Ok, driving to school doesn't really count if the students are not allowed to leave campus all day. Sorry.)
Back to the subject...
I don't imagine the solution would be to have Big Brother telling me how many bottles of cough syrup I can buy at the pharmacy in case I have a drug habit. I mean, that's like Home Depot forbidding me from buying a hammer in case I murder someone with it later, you know? All right, bad analogy. But I'd like to shop for a cough syrup bargain without reference to the fact that someone ELSE is shopping for this TOTALLY LEGAL product so that she can convert it to meth. See, because I thought meth was illegal? Not cough syrup... I want to buy my cough syrup and have everybody not keep records on how many I bought and my drivers' license number. I can make my own decisions about NyQuil, ok??
Here, I'm criticising the government for regulating something *I* don't have a problem with. Millions of other people DO. Maybe I should be more compassionate about those folks and just deal with a little inconvenience. It would be easier not to start. "Hugs not drugs" and "just say no" is designed for that sort of audience. But those sayings obviously wouldn't work for everyone. You tell the heroin junkie "hugs not drugs" next time he needs a fix. Bring the Care Bear bunch in and do a skit about how users are losers and see if it changes anything.
And I read stories like this and go, good gracious! How could such a thing happen? And I think somehow we have all failed this child. But I can't quite put my finger on how. Please don't interpret that statement to mean that I think the state "village" needs to raise children. I think parents should have absolute say in the raising of their children... but I have to admit that it seems terribly awful if, in the "luck of the draw," your parents are PCP-snorting crazy-o's who also inject crack on the weekends. I suppose that if the state monitored all children, that this boy could have been saved.
Then again, if the state got to decide everything and monitor everything, we'd all be doing drugs and the government would get the tax money. I'm just cynical enough to think that the government doesn't REALLY want anyone to quit smoking when there are Virginia farmers who would get upset about the impact on their business. In addition, tobacco is just such a great source of revenue! Only think how much money Uncle Sam could get if marijuana and cocaine were legalized as well.
Where am I going with this? Well, I'm not sure. I just saw that story this morning and it broke my heart. I started thinking that they need to get those drugs off the street. Then I thought about some of the methods the government would have to use to make it happen. Then I thought that if we had universal healthcare, the father would get some legal oxycontin and be relatively harmless. But I'd be payin' for his oxys.
Then I thought that maybe this dad is gonna wake out of his trip and be really sorry. Then I thought that I ought to feel sorry for him, but I'm too sorry for the little boy to do that.
I really don't know what the answers would be to problems like this. Your thoughts are appreciated. I want to hear what you think about it.