Alcohol far more dangerous than Ebola

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, November 6, 2014

By Frank Roberts

The Ebola scare is, of course, something to really worry about, but consider this: Tobacco is responsible for 450,000 deaths annually, and alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths annually.

Those figures should elicit at least a slight panic. Try regulating those products, and then stand back and wait for the hue and cry that is sure to come from the various companies that would be affected.

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Speaking of liquor, the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study revealed in 2001 that half of all freshmen find their first binge drinking opportunity within the first week of college, often before they’ve even purchased any textbooks.

Here’s another one for you. Roughly half of all college athletes, both male and female, are binge drinkers, and a 2001 study by the NCAA found that 80 percent of college athletes, male and female, drink.

Regulate? Yeah, right.

Still more: The U.S. government spends 25 times as much on campaigns to fight drugs as it does on campaigns to prevent underage drinking.

And from author and recovered alcoholic Koren Zalickas comes the tragic story of a 16-year-old girl in an alcohol-induced coma, whose parents had to switch off her respirator.

The alcohol industry often reminds us all to drink responsibly. I guess that’s supposed to mean that they’ve done their duty.

Ancient wisdom: When someone points at the moon, the idiot looks at the finger.

Pooch enthusiasts will enjoy this thought from John Steinbeck: “I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think human beings are nuts.”

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at