With all the discussion about raising the cost of cigarettes, in an effort to reduce the cost of medical treatment for people allegedly affected by cigarette smoke, both smokers and persons affected by second-hand smoke, I think there is an area of abuse that can also be legislated for the good of our state: alcohol.

While, personally, I do not know anyone who has been deemed to have documented death as a direct result of smoking, I do know of relatives, children and countless citizens of our fair state that have died of the direct result of alcohol abuse. Either by way of DWI, physical abuse resulting in injury or death, of self-inflicted death or injury, drinking is a major problem in Louisiana.

What can be done about this devastating situation? How about $20 for a six-pack of beer at the local grocery/liquor store, or $20 for a mixed drink at the local watering hole, or $75 for a fifth of alcohol?

I realize that most people will get up in arms in response to this proposal, but wouldn’t the desired effect be the same as raising cigarette prices, that is, reducing the dollars spent on treatment for alcohol-related disease, medical treatment for injuries that are alcohol-induced (from DWI, physical injuries from drunks being out of control etc.) plus much-needed dollars for alcohol abuse education. Raising the cost of alcohol to a point that many of the state’s drinkers can’t afford to, or will no longer want to, buy alcohol would certainly reduce all the negatives related to drinking.

That being said, since partaking of alcoholic beverages is deemed socially acceptable to regular citizens, legislators, doctors, teachers, sometimes but rarely pastors/priests, and others of “honorable” persuasions, I doubt if any of our elected officials have the gumption to do anything other than say “Oh well, c’est la vie.”

Think about it.

Jim Sylvest

legal videographer