Banning high-proof alcohols not the solution

It seems like alcohol is everywhere. Someone may not be drinking it, but it is often there in conversation, advertising and physically at restaurants and in people’s apartments. Although drinking is an activity that many college students participate in, it seems as though alcohol is becoming more subject to criticism concerning the way people behave when they drink — not the people themselves.

In fact, the state of Maryland and other states are looking to ban high-proof alcohols, according to the Huffington Post. These lawmakers argued that by banning these alcohols, there will be fewer sexual assaults and hopefully alter the mindset that glorifies drinking. An example listed in the article was Everclear.

Though Everclear is often used in Jell-O shots and jungle juice, it does not seem to be typically used for casual drinking. Both of those are commonly associated with parties, but in reality, those are often not the only drinks consumed.

Of course lowering the number of sexual assaults is an important focus, but banning certain alcoholic drinks could potentially lead to a loophole in the law in favor of assaulters; yet another  potential occasion for victim-blaming — that the victim had been drinking something like jungle juice at a party — justifying the actions of the perpetrator.

Another aspect to consider with this ban is that people can just buy more alcohol if they’re looking to get drunk. The ban is obviously trying to encourage people — most specifically young people who tend to drink these colorless grain beverages — to drink in moderation and consume beverags of lower proof. Yes, people will most likely buy items with a lower proof, but they may just drink more at a time in order to achieve the level of inebriation that they want. It is up to the drinkers themselves to be responsible, and it should not be the job of the alcohol companies to make sure that happens.

Finally, having this ban in place would likely encourage more illegal activity. The truth is that college and high school students who want to drink will find someone to buy it for them or they will steal it from older people they know (parents, siblings, neighbors, etc.). Banning a specific type of alcohol would make it seem that much more desirable for a lot of people, and they would try their hardest to get their hands on it. If it stays on the shelves in most areas, it won’t be as big of a deal, especially to young drinkers.

Banning any sort of alcoholic beverage is an extreme. After the Prohibition, this Editorial Board would have thought that governments would realize this does not end particularly well. Additionally, the argument that higher proof alcohols should not be for human consumption is one that does not fit the state of the United States. People are still eating chicken McNuggets even though many know what those are made of, and they arguably should not be for human consumption. Yet those items are one of the most popular on a McDonald’s menu, and most people don’t think twice about ordering them. If Illinois should become one of those states to consider banning higher proof alcohols, hopefully it would learn to adjust its thinking. Providing more warning labels like the flammability label on Bacardi 151 has deterred some people from drinking what has been called “basically gasoline.” Most people do not just drink higher proof alcohols without a mixer, so maybe it could be encouraged to just watch how many mixed drinks they have. This is a battle that has been going on for decades, and it probably won’t be resolved anytime soon, but certain factors need to be considered.

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