Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Drinking to excess

It's another publishing week for me at the newspaper, so from now until Saturday I'll be posting my daily quick missives on whatever's coursing through my mind. I invite you all to share your thoughts - agree or disagree, it's all good - and personal stories in the comments below.

I wrote this after reading another report on how problem drinking is an even bigger issue in this region than in any other part of the province. Holiday season always seems to bring with it an increase in the frequency of booze-related stories in the media. I know I'm contributing to it, but I don't have a problem shining the spotlight a little brighter or wider if it means even one person takes notice.

I thought of this piece last night as I drove my family home through a dark and rainy night. We were at the end of a 700+ kilometre drive from Montreal, about five minutes away from home, when an idiot in a blue Civic coupe charged sidelong through four lanes of oncoming traffic to get to the parking lot of an apartment building. I panic-braked to miss him, as did every car around and in front of me. My first thought was no sober person would consciously drive like that, and that had I been alone, I would have stayed at the scene, called 911, and had him charged.

Although my overriding parental instinct to get my sleeping family home in one piece prevailed last night, part of me feels guilty for not doing more - especially on the day that I had written this - to get this moron off the road. Decisions.

So without further ado, here's the piece. Please note the editing gremlin that seems to have crept into my byline. My family name is "Levy", not "Levi".
Drinking report needed wake-call
Published Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The London Free Press

It’s a sobering reality check to realize the rate of problem drinking in Middlesex County far exceeds the provincial average.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has just released statistics showing Middlesex residents report far higher incidences of drinking and driving, binge drinking, hazardous drinking and drinking-related problems than any other Ontario region.

If you’ve got a problem with booze, this is your wake-up call to get help. If you don’t, you are also accountable for fighting this scourge before you or those you love are killed by a drunk driver.

If a friend or colleague has hit the bottle too hard, we must all do anything in our power to help. Take away the keys, call Alcoholics Anonymous, rally some friends to intervene, do whatever it takes to stop the deadly cycle.

Christmas is just over a month away. Holiday partying season is already hard upon us. Consider this society’s long-overdue wake-up call. It is, simply, now or never for problem drinkers – and for the rest of us.



Carmen said...

Good for you.

Drunk drivers suck. The Hubster's mother was killed by one.

Aginoth said...

The UK annual campaign against drink Driving is about to kick off.

In my opinion anyone caught drunk in charge of a vehicle should be banned from driving for life. They obviously do not have the brains to be allowed to ever drive.

netchick said...

Here here! Timely post. We all need a reminder during the holiday season.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Doing things to stop people driving while drunk, e.g. taking away their keys, reporting them, etc - yes, absolutely. However, more generally, intervening in an alcohol-dependent person's life with the aim of helping them end their dependency on alcohol is very unlikely to work unless they themselves are ready to take that step.

Tabor said...

I think we really need to find why alcoholism prevails so much in certain areas. There are many reasons I know, but we should find some way to chip at this. As I blog right this instance the TV news is reporting about a drunk driving accident in my area!!

Plumkrazzee said...

I once, while traveling through Vail Pass was almost killed by a semi truck. (no exaggeration) I had 3 small children in my car, and had to stop on the side of the road because I was hysterical. I caught up with him, got all his info off the truck, got online, found his company, and turned him in. Seems it was his 3rd offense, and I received an actual phone call from the president of the company assuring me he had been fired. I wasn't really hoping for that, but still....at least I know now that he won't kill somebody.

kenju said...

You are completely right, Carmi. The trouble is, most of the people who need to read what you wrote probably will not see it. People who will drink and drive, without regard to others, are not likely to respond to the printed page.

Anonymous said...

That is why in Montreal we have our yearly ritual of the "Nez Rouge" effort to keep pesky drunk drivers from the roads here. But of course, that never works totally 100%.

Holiday parties have started already and drunk drivers are a problem in Quebec as well.

Let go the ego and call a taxi or "Nez Rouge" this year and lets save a few more families the misery of deaths over this holiday season.

birdychirp said...

Great post Carmi - definite yet not ranting.

And everything Zinnia said..

mar said...

Hope at least one potential drunken driver reads your post. My son will start driving next summer and I am soooo scared.

craziequeen said...

And what do the UK do a month before Christmas??

Allow 24hr opening for bars and clubs.....

tis crazie.....


dena said...

I'm petrified of drunk drivers. One of the reasons I don't like driving late at night is because of the abundance of drunks on the road. I am amazed at the number of people I know (acquaintances) who have been ticketed for driving under the influence. It almost seems like people are just accepting that it happens, and it's not their fault. They just got caught.

Visiting from michele's today