The total cost of alcohol use by youth is $58,043 billion per year,2 the equivalent of $216.22 for every man, woman and child in the United States. Many of us are all too familiar with a major tragic consequence of underage drinking-traffic crashes. The combination of alcohol use and driving by young people with little driving experience and low alcohol tolerance can indeed be deadly. But several other problems are associated with underage drinking, including crime, various types of traumatic injury, suicide, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisonings, and alcohol dependence and abuse requiring treatment.$58,043 billion dollars! That's from MADD ("The Limiting Factor: economic costs of underage drinking"). Are they rounding up to the nearest 58,043th billion?
One of the most counterproductive, rabidly intolerant, repressive, quasi-fascist organizations in the United States of America (and Canada, for that matter) is benign-sounding Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Although it kind of started off okay (maybe anyway), it long ago achieved its original mission of making drunk driving a taboo. Seriously, though, somebody had to do it. In the 1970s, drunk driving was dismissed as a minor problem, and punishments were light. Although MADD is probably too self-absorbed to go this far, drunk driving takes two stupid things, driving and excessive drinking, and puts them together. Neither is really healthy in the first place, but putting them together indeed does make a gruesome crash scene likely to happen.
As many successful political movements in the United States tend to be these days, MADD was the brainchild of a suburban mother, Candy Lightner, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Naturally, Candy Lightner got angry about her loss. That, of course, is an understandable emotion for any parent who loses a child to a three-ton smog machine. Candy decided to found MADD to lobby for laws making drunk driving a much more strictly punished offense.
Kids, really. Please drink responsibly. And adults (18+): set a good example for the kids!