Thursday, March 20, 2008

Alcohol Killer Is Dangerous Stuff

I recently learned about a new drink with the intriguing name of Alcohol Killer.

Judging by the name of the product, one might be inclined to think that drinking the product neutralizes the effects of booze, allowing one to drink limitless amounts of liquor without ever getting drunk or suffering from a hangover the following morning. One might even think that the consumption of the product served as an inoculation against alcoholism.

Unfortunately, it does no such thing. At best, it might slightly reduce one's BAC (blood alcohol content). But the company's own website states that an independent European study showed that the product "did not reduce intoxication".

In a Chicago Reader ad, it states that Alcohol Killer "may help to eliminate the unfavorable effects of alcohol, as well as a hangover." What makes the ad noteworthy is its use of hedge words ("may" and "help"), which are clearly designed to make the company exempt from liability in any legal cases involving claims regarding the efficacy of the product. If the produce really "killed" alcohol, such hedge words wouldn't be needed, now would they?

I also love the way that the statement subtly implies (through the use of the phrase "as well as") that a hangover is not an unfavorable effect. I think that most people who've suffered from hangovers would beg to differ.

I have a suggestion for people who are looking for ways to eliminate hangovers and other unfavorable effects of alcohol consumption: DON'T CONSUME ALCOHOL!!! Duh.

It's not as if there is a shortage of delicious beverages which have no alcohol whatsoever. Personally, I'm partial to fruit juice and gourmet coffee.

Mormons might object to my consumption of coffee and tea and cola, but I've never heard about anyone dying behind the wheel or beating his wife and kids or suffering from delirium tremens as the result of drinking too many caffeinated beverages. I suppose that it's theoretically possible that a person who was sufficiently "wired" from caffeine could do one or more of those things, but it's a remote possibility at best. There's nothing remote about the harmful effects of alcohol abuse. Just ask an ER physician or nurse, if you don't believe me.

Short of total abstinence, the next best option would be to resolve that one would never under any circumstances continue to drink alcoholic beverages past the point where one first began to notice any kind of a "buzz" whatsoever.

But that, of course, would require a measure of self control. Americans aren't into self control. They'd rather think that they can make stupid choices and then buy and use additional products which will negate the effects of their stupidity.

The trouble with a product like Alcohol Killer is that most of the people who buy it and drink it won't bother to read the fine print. They'll see it as a license to drink even more than they normally drink. Consequently, whatever positive effects the beverage might bring in terms of reduction of BAC will be more than offset by the fact that it will encourage people to drink to excess.

The manufacturers of Alcohol Killer seem to assume that people who drink only do it for the great taste of the booze. They seem to assume that such people don't really want to get drunk. There may be some cases in which that's true, but there are a lot of other cases in which it's demonstrably false.

Let's be honest. Some alcoholic beverages taste pleasant, but there are others which taste more or less like turpentine. People put up with the nasty taste (or gradually get used to it) only because they desire the buzz they can get by drinking the stuff. It's very similar to smoking in that respect.

Bartenders are sure to love Alcohol Killer. They can sell even more booze, and then deny responsibility for the tragic consequences of their sales transactions.

As the son of a man who was an alcoholic when he died in 1999, I have personally experienced the destructive effects of alcohol abuse. And I can say with unequivocal certainty that Alcohol Killer is not the answer to the problem. The answer, rather is to follow the advice offered by the Bible, in Ephesians 5:18:

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

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