Alcohol Abuse Research Paper Writing – Focus Points
Alcohol abuse is a major social issue in most developed countries; governments spend a lot of time trying to change drinking behaviour through legislation, publicity and education. Such a prominent problem makes an obvious subject for a research paper. If you have to write a paper on the subject you might have a specific topic already assigned or you might need to choose one yourself. Either way there are a few points you need to focus on to make your paper a successful one.
What is alcohol abuse?
It's not the same as excessive drinking, although many people use the two interchangeably. "Excessive" drinking is largely a social idea and social standards change. Many historical figures drank amounts that would see them called alcoholics today. In the 17th century Royal Navy sailors were issued a gallon of beer a day because it was considered (probably correctly) healthier than water on long voyages; in 1655 this was replaced by a pint of strong rum. The daily rum ration was well over what is now recommended as the alcohol limit for a week, but together with daily mugs of lime juice was recommended as a cure for scurvy and a way of sterilizing dirty water. Alcohol abuse has a medical rather than a social meaning; it's a pattern of drinking that affects health, relationships or ability to work and it's defined in medical publications like the DSM-IV.
What are the consequences?
These can be broken down into categories. Here are the main ones:
Health. People who drink a moderate (actually rather large - up to half a bottle of wine a day) amount of alcohol are healthier than non-drinkers, but above this level alcohol starts to damage health and the consequences can become very serious. The more minor ones are sleep disorders and loss of sex drive; more serious ones include heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver and several varieties of cancer.
Social. People who abuse alcohol are more likely to commit antisocial behaviour such as getting into fights. They are also likely to have relationship issues, as heavy drinking often leads to arguments, sexual problems and a breakdown of trust.
Career. Alcohol abuse can affect punctuality and concentration, which have a negative effect on job prospects. Abusers are at a high risk of losing their driving license, which rules out many jobs. If employers become aware of problem drinking dismissal is possible, especially in jobs which require precision or involve machinery.
What are effective strategies for reducing alcohol abuse?
There are a number of strategies that can be investigated here. Some that have either been proposed or actually tried are as follows:
- Minimum unit pricing - this is being investigated in the UK, mostly to counter the sale of very cheap alcohol by supermarkets.
- Punitive taxation - This is a common option used in many countries. Often most of the cost of a bottle of non-premium spirits is tax.
- Age restrictions - Almost all countries have laws restricting the minimum age for buying of consuming alcohol. These vary from 21 in the USA to 16 or even lower in Europe. What seems to be most effective?
- Prohibition - This was tried in the USA. Did it have any benefits to compensate for the disastrous crime problems it caused, or was it simply a stupid idea?
If you cover all these focus points you should be able to write an interesting and effective research paper. There is plenty of information available, written from any viewpoint you need.