The state of New York pushed powdered alcohol outside the limits of law on Friday.
The Governor of New York, Mr. Andrew Cuomo signed the piece of legislation banning ‘any powdered or crystalline alcohol product’ on Friday, little time after the controversial powder was approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for sale in the U.S.
There are no studies as to the health effects this powdered substance that can be mixed with water or other liquids to obtain alcoholic beverages may have. Supposedly, it would be as harmful as liquid alcohol, particularly in the case of abuse.
Why then is not alcohol banned as well? This is not an argumentative case for either side. However, it is ironic that Mr. Cuomo banned the powdered alcohol the same day it offered a legislative boost to cideries, distilleries and breweries in the state of New York.
Neither is New York alone on the list of states to boost traditional alcohol producers’ sector. Over 20 other states signed similar legislation banning the recently approved powdered alcohol, while providing incentives for traditional liquid alcohol producers.
At the federal level, New York Senator Charles Schumer introduced legislation that would make powdered alcohol illegal across the U.S.
It looks like overreaching reactions spiced by fears that powdered alcohol, while being as intoxicating as traditional liquid one, is easier to smuggle in prohibited places, provides a wider array of ways to be abused, including binge drinking and open a whole new world of possibilities for underaged drinkers.
Yet, none of these fears are supported by scientific evidence. Nor are the fears related to costs. While one ounce of powder is added to six ounces of water to create one drink that is 10 percent alcohol by volume, the same traditional drink or amount of alcohol is four times below that of the powdered beverage.
The main point is that efforts to do something worthwhile with regards to substance abuse in any way are wasted on the wrong side of the barricade. Surely, powdered alcohol has the potential to become, in time as potent on the market as traditional alcohol.
Yet, for now it is the latter that features high in U.S. statistics. One source quotes that 29 percent of U.S. citizens suffer from alcohol use disorder. Of these, only 20 percent ever received any treatment. Moreover, the percentage of alcohol use disorder incidence spiked from 8.5 percent to 12.7 percent from 2001-2002 to 2012-2013.
Before it’s too late, perhaps more efforts to address old fashioned, traditional liquid alcohol abuse would be welcome.
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