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Sir, This is a very important report because it highlights that
alcohol is indeed a drug; over time one of destructive dependency. This
drug's first action is to depress the inhibitory centres. All to often
this releases risk taking behaviour, resulting in adverse judicial, social
and medical consequences. Ask any policeman or ambulance man.
Alcohol is perceived - especially by the young - as a safe, cheap,
legal, amusing social lubricant; even in excess. It is 'culturally
encouraged'. The Government has now facilitated freer availablity,
reinforcing this view, as does the advent of 'alcopops' (implying safe for
the young). Fewer would go out on-mass socially to 'overdose' (on
alcohol), if they had insight.
Hence the importance of alcohol being ranked publically as a drug
that harms both individuals and society. All who work in Emergency
Departments see this only too clearly. However for us, alcohol is the
'Number 1' drug of abuse, not 'number 5', as the report states.
Reference. Alcohol - can the NHS afford it? Royal College of Physicians,
London. February 2001.