Ronald E. Bogle: Liquid dangers

August 18, 2013 

Liquid dangers

Regarding Josh Shaffer’s Aug. 12 column “N.C. State scientists brew brainy beer”: The U.S. Surgeon General, citing overwhelming medical evidence of a genuine youth public health crisis, declared a “National Call to Action” to prevent underage drinking. Collegiate alcohol-related deaths and poisonings are at record levels. With alcohol the teen drug of choice, nearly one-half of collegiate drinkers are binge drinkers.

Even so, N.C. State University provides its talented scientific resources in “relentless research” for “concocting liquid happiness.” That “liquid happiness” it pursues is devoted to development of beer, a product and messaging embraced by many hard-drinking collegians. With alcohol abuse the most serious collegiate public health problem, it seems an illogical and misguided use of university and other public resources to add academic enabling to this confirmed public health threat.

Alcohol use is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and third-leading preventable cause of cancer. It kills more teens than all other drugs combined.

Put public health first. If NCSU wants to devote its resources to alcohol, an addictive drug, consider instead researching ways to reduce alcohol’s many societal harms we all pay for.

Ronald E. Bogle, Chapel Hill

The writer is a retired Superior Court judge.

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