Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

There has been a lot of coverage lately regarding the opioid menace. And certainly, there is enough direct and collateral evidence to show that it is a growing problem.

But just for a moment, can we shift to a much, much larger menace, one that is more than twice as fatal? It's legal. It does not require a doctor's written prescription monthly. It can be obtained in any quantity desired, and it can be consumed in any quantity desired.

I'm speaking of alcohol.

By all accounts, there are more than 250 alcohol-related deaths every day from alcohol use. This is seen in automobile-related crashes and murders, and by other non-automobile accidents such as falls, by suicides and by fires started by the inebriated. Its use is promoted directly in the media with advertisements, and indirectly by "entertainment" scripting.

The big lie with alcohol is that it is always shown in the media as the cause of happiness and sociability. The fact is that alcohol is a depressant. Before the inevitable hangover, as many people who become happy (temporarily anyway) there are just as many who become mean and angry — hurtful to spouses and children in the home, and murderous and suicidal in our neighborhoods.

We already have in place stringent regulations for opioids, though there are ways of skirting legal and ethical restrictions. So yes, let's put a bandage on opioid-abuse; but at the same time, let's not ignore the need for major surgery in our society to cure the far more deadly abuse of alcohol.

Dean Zimmerman

Alpine