By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
September 4, 2013
WASHINGTON — “There’s a lot of money to be made in beer, wine and spirits,” Postmaster General Donahoe told the media recently. “We’d like to be in that business.”
But the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League and president of the American Council on Alcohol Problems, said the $50 million a year that the mail service estimates it could make would never make up for the exacerbated social costs such a plan would create.
“When it comes to alcohol, greater access generates greater consumption, and making beer, wine and liquor available through an additional outlet as widely used as the U.S. Postal service would create more widespread use of alcohol and more alcohol related problems,” said Dr. Creech.
He said underage drinking is already an epidemic without door-to-door delivery.
“It’s been suggested that having recipients show IDs before signing for their packages would remedy that situation, but what does a postman know about checking the well-forged driver’s licenses and fake IDs available to teens today?” he said.
“Why would we do anything to risk worsening this problem?” Dr. Creech asked.In fact, despite the fact that purchase and possession of alcohol by those under 21 is illegal in all 50 states, studies show that more than 40 percent of high school students reported drinking within the last 30 days.
Furthermore, he said mixing alcohol with a public policy initiative always generates more costs than revenue. Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year show that excessive drinking cost the nation some $223.5 billion in 2006 in lost workplace productivity, health care, property damage and other expenses. That tally, which means that each state spends about $1.91 for every alcoholic drink consumed, doesn’t include costs related to the pain and suffering of excessive drinkers or others affected by the drinking.
In North Carolina, the toll that alcohol takes on the community includes social costs of $2 per drink and $682 per capita.
Beyond the monetary costs, the CDC reports that some 80,000 people die each year in the United States due to excessive alcohol use, the third leading lifestyle related cause of death in the nation.
“We understand that the Postal Service lost $16 billion last year and is desperate for any source of revenue it can find, but peddling alcohol is not the answer,” said Dr. Creech. “Any bottom line benefit at the post office would be dwarfed by increased social costs to the community and the taxpayer.”
“We hope our elected officials in Washington see this misguided proposal for what it is, a bad idea that would only worsen the nation’s alcohol woes.”
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