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Position statement adopted by NBWA.

Position statement adopted by NBWA

Linking legal alcoholic beverages with illegal drugs can be dangerous as well as misleading, the National Beer Wholesalers Association has warned.

In a position statement adopted unanimously by its 15-member Management Committee, the association deplored the current tendency by the media to blur the lines of distinction between its products and illicit drugs. It also cautioned against combining warnings against unlawful narcotics with those against alcohol abuse.

"Such linkages," NBWA spokesman Frank McNeirney said, "erroneously imply that beer, wine and spirits are as innately harmful as heroin, cocaine and other illicit substances."

Messages such as "Say no to drugs and alcohol" can backfire, the spokesman explained.

"Adults who drink moderately with no ill effects and young people who watch them do so may conclude that moderate use of illegal drugs might also pose no problem," McNeirney reported. "Conversely, the alcohol abuser whose plight is equated with that of persons addicted to mindaltering drugs may view his problem as untreatable. In both cases, the credibility and effectiveness of all prevention messages is eroded."

It was also pointed out that alcoholic beverages are legal products which have been part of mankind's social rites and customs for thousands of years.

"Drugs like cocaine and heroin are illegal and dangerous per se," McNeirney said. "Their effects on the mind and body make them unacceptable at any level of use."

The association has recommended that alcohol abuse warnings focus on the dangers of overconsumption, while recognizing that most people who consume alcohol do so safely and responsibly. Anti-drug messages, on the other hand, must emphasize that there is no such thing as responsible use of illegal drugs.
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Title Annotation:National Beer Wholesalers' Association; linking alcoholic beverages with drugs
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Aug 14, 1989
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