Letters / No sympathy for drunks

IT never ceases to amaze me how people jumped up and down, screamed and shouted about smoking, yet not many are doing the same about drinking to excess.

I was told several years ago by a surgeon at Calvary Hospital that 75 per cent of injuries presenting at ED were directly or indirectly caused through alcohol. Reading Michael Moore’s column (“Few cheers as drunkenness soars”, CN, May 4) hit home how bad this nation has become.

I have no idea what the attraction is of going out to get blind drunk. The suffering the next day must be woeful.

Do these people ever stop to consider not only what harm they are doing to themselves (in scrambling their brains), but what damage they cause to other people in road accidents and what the poor emergency services people have to contend with after accidents. I think those who pick up the pieces (sometimes literally) deserve more than medals. Maybe the courts should make the drink drivers attend some of the horrific accidents, it may make them see sense.

Michael Moore wrote: “Alcohol is part of a way of life in Australia”. Well smoking was until people started objecting, so maybe we need to start objecting to all the drunken loutish behaviour. I should add, I am not teetotal and I enjoy a drink occasionally, but have never been drunk and see no reason to ever be.

Maybe if people didn’t go out to get blind drunk they would have enough money to buy a home instead of complaining they can’t afford the deposit.

Vi Evans via email

Our ineffective policies

THANKS to Michael Moore for highlighting the necessity for regulations on alcohol (“Few cheers as drunkenness soars”, CN, May 4).

He emphasised binge drinking, which now has a parallel in drug bingeing – individuals and groups who set out to become mindless.

Our ineffective drug policy is relentlessly destroying our kids, sporting events and society. A major ideal of medical practice is “First do no harm” – although it isn’t actually part of the Hippocratic Oath. The context of the phrase comes from Of Epidemics which is part of the Hippocratic corpus. With utmost relevance to today it says in part: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect”.

Harm prevention, not harm reduction, has worked highly successfully in combatting influenza, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio etcetera. Some seeking decriminalisation dismiss harm prevention for drug use by saying such use is behavioural, not a disease, but simultaneously want it treated as a disease, not a criminal offence. Entry to drug use is a free choice that determines behaviour. If we hope to stop the spread of drug addiction, harm prevention must go to the masthead of our drug policy!

Colliss Parrett, Drug Advisory Council Australia, Barton

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