People should realize damaging effects of alcohol abuse
Beer seems to be an essential ingredient for a college weekend. Students get together, pass around the bottles, impair their judgment, many will lose consciousness, almost all will be violently ill the next morning and some will not remember the previous evening.

They insist it is fun, but it is nothing but frightening.

Alcohol is a destructive force on campus and in the United States. Students and society must realize its awful affects and refuse to tolerate its use.

Alcohol and its abuse is most prevalent on college campuses. This school year has already heard tragic stories of students whose "night of fun" ended in death. Students at both LSU and MIT died of alcohol poisoning from too much drinking.

A chemical this potent should be heavily regulated. It is more dangerous than many illegal drugs and stronger than several prescription medications.

Someone who's drunk is no longer able to act responsibly. No matter what myths exist on campus, responsibility is always a virtue. Alcohol has a terrible impact on the binge drinker's body. Over years this poison destroys the liver and kills brain cells. Unfortunately, the health benefits can often be more immediate--memory loss, coma or death.

Alcohol causes over 100,000 deaths in the United States each year (for those of you keeping score at home, that is as many Americans killed each year as during the entire Vietnam and Korean Wars combined). Alcohol is deadly, and designating a driver does not guarantee safety.

Of course, most students who drink do not "drink to get drunk." But other drinking habits are also dangerous and foolish.

Many people use liquor to relax or unwind at the end of the day. Since the body develops a tolerance to alcohol, it will take more and more to achieve the same affects. The occasional drinker may not be aware of the fact they are increasing their intake. Besides, anyone who regularly uses a mood-altering drug (stronger than many prescription options) needs to pay attention to a deeper problem.

A similar group of people only drink socially. Perhaps they will not become one of the 15 million alcoholics in the United States. Maybe they will be responsible and never harm themselves or someone else, but alcohol is still a foolish choice.

Even one drink impairs judgment. Even if the social drinker acts responsibly and does not operate any heavy machinery (imagine being in no condition to mow a yard), no wise person would voluntarily dispose of their faculties. No one can be sure they will not need their full faculties within the next few hours.

A few drinkers partake of the spirits because they like the taste. These folks may not face the same problems and risks of other drinkers, but they should still stop and weigh the costs of their past time. Anyone who drinks alcohol is playing with fire. Though it may never become a problem chances are it will.

Many people like to take comfort in the notion that in small doses alcohol is not harmful and may actually be healthy. The fact is alcohol will likely harm the body and will never do it any good.

A few studies suggest certain amounts of alcohol are beneficial, but there are far more studies refuting those conclusions.

Americans spend over $22 billion a year on alcohol (about the name number of federal dollars are spent on education).

Alcohol is expensive and risky. its use leads too easily to abuse. It can cause depression, violence, dependency, illness, death or countless other damaging consequences.

Current society holds tobacco in contempt and accepts widespread alcohol use and abuse. Yet, no one smokes a pack of cigarettes then wraps their car around a tree. Alcohol presents a far more violent threat physically and emotionally.

Liquor flows freely at Texas A&M. Students need to wake up before they are caught in its disastrous wake. The decision to drink is an important one. Students should remember that alcohol will probably damage the body, and will never do it any good.

Dave Johnston is a senior mathematics major.