This is an Urgent Christian Action Alert
By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
May 16, 2019
A new study was recently published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, which provided what many might consider surprising results. The study was to determine the drugs most harmful to the individual and others.
What are some of the most harmful substances to users? Fentanyl, heroin, and crystal methamphetamine were at the top of the list. But guess which drug ranked the highest when harm for the users and harm to others was combined? Yep, you probably guessed right. It was alcohol.
As late as August of this year, another new study published in the international medical journal, The Lancet, reported that there is no safe level of drinking alcohol. The study said that nearly 3 million people die globally because of alcohol use and abuse.
Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet, wrote: “We now understand that alcohol is one of the major causes of death in the world today. We need to act now. We need to act urgently to prevent these millions of deaths. And we can.”
But North Carolina lawmakers are moving in just the opposite direction, and in the name of “modernizing” our so-called “antiquated” and “Prohibition-era” alcohol statutes, they are dangerously and irresponsibly proposing alcohol industry-driven legislation that will exacerbate alcohol-related harms.
Diane Riibe, a North Carolina resident and the former executive director of the U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance and a 25 year veteran of alcohol policy work, recently spoke before the NC House ABC Committee about an alcohol bill that contains numerous egregious provisions. Riibe said that in the quarter-century of alcohol policy work she had done, she had never seen a state “take on the level of pulverization of the current system.”
These proposed initiatives by state lawmakers not only defy decades of alcohol research showing the relationship between certain alcohol policies and alcohol-related harms but common sense.
Carefully consider the following questions? They should peak your interests, spur you to investigate, and take action to save our beloved state.
- Alcohol abuse by college students is already a serious problem with profound negative consequences, including death. Should the state grant NC colleges and universities permits to sell beer and wine at their collegiate sporting events?
- Should the state allow the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to start selling beer and wine?
- Do you want “bars,” not the more respectable-type establishment like the kind of bar in a restaurant where food is also sold, but “bars” that sell nothing but booze, seedy-type places, throughout the cities and towns and rural areas where the sale of mixed beverages has been approved? Does North Carolina want to be like other states where this is common?
- Do you want beer and wine delivered by grocery stores or other establishments directly to residences – a practice fraught with the opportunity for multiple forms of mischief by underage drinkers and other abuses of alcohol?
- Do you believe bottled liquor, which has a standard Alcohol by Volume (ABV) content of 35% to 40% (that’s 70 to 80 proof), much stronger than beer and wine, should be treated no differently than beer and wine?
- Since cheaper booze results in more dangerous consumption levels, should the ABC Commission be mandated by the legislature to modify the rule to allow for deeper discounts on beer and wine – from 25% to 35%?
- Establishments by law are required not to serve underage drinkers or someone who is not sober. Therefore, which makes it easier for them to keep up with this, allowing one drink or four to a patron at a sitting? Should it be as high as four?
- Do you approve of liquor stores opening on Sundays or liquor tastings events in local ABC stores?
- Do you believe that Breweries should be allowed to sell beer in communities where the electorate there voted down the sale of malt beverages?
Legislative initiatives that would answer “yes,” to all of these questions are in two stand-alone alcohol bills (HB 389 – ABC /Univ Athletic Facility, SB 290 – Distillery Regulatory Reform Bill) while all of them are in the gargantuan HB 536: ABC Omnibus Regulatory Reform legislation. HB 536 is 16 pages long with 25 provisions, 12 of which make broad-sweeping major changes to North Carolina alcohol policy.
If you want to see just how bad matters are, read Rev. Mark Creech’s Analysis of HB 536: ABC Omnibus Regulatory Reform (SB 592).
HB 389 and SB 290 could be taken up in the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee either on Wednesday or Thursday of next week. HB 536 could be heard before the House Finance Committee sometime next week.
The fact that these proposals are in more than one bill and a dozen of them in another is a strategy for overwhelming any opposition. It’s a strategy for pushing things through, making these initiatives more difficult to track, and making it nearly impossible for the opposition to effectively warn and engage the public.
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said, “I am doing everything within my power to address these bills with lawmakers, but the public must speak out against them. Citizen Christians must speak out against these measures. If they don’t, citizens from across the state who have lived here for most or all of their lives are not going to like the way these initiatives change things. I’ve been a North Carolina all of my life, and I love its relatively wholesome culture. But if these proposals succeed, it will diminish it’s wholesomeness significantly. It will seriously compromise the state’s public health and safety.”
Take Christian Action:
Please contact your state Senator and Representative by email and urge them to vote “No” on HB 536, HB 389, and SB 290. Follow up your email with a phone call.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: It is not hyperbole to say that if this bill passes as written, more people will die or be disabled and maimed, more marriages will fail, more children will be neglected or injured emotionally, addictions to alcohol will increase, and many others will be impoverished in ways untold.
If you don’t know who represents you in the North Carolina House and Senate, go to this link on the NCGA website: https://www.ncleg.gov/RnR/Representation
Then, do the following:
- Click on “NC House” in the left margin.
- Enter your residence address in the box in the right margin.
- Look back at where you first clicked on “NC House” in the left margin again, and you should see your House District sited and your State Representative’s name listed beside it.
- Click on the name of your state Representative. It should provide you with his or her contact information.
- Save this information to your computer so it will be easily accessible for future reference.
- Repeat the same process to find who represents you in the State Senate, except first click on “NC Senate.”