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Category: Alcohol

Alcohol-related death and crime prevention the Swedish way

Sweden’s government-controlled alcohol stores and strict regulations help save lives, lower crime and cut down on sick days, according to a recent study by Stockholm University.

Swedish System

The Scandinavian country, which is regarded as a shining beacon of socialism, only sells alcohol above 2.25% alcohol by volume in the 400 government-run Systembolaget stores. The exception is beer with alcohol content up to 3.5%, which is sold in grocery stores throughout the country.

Systembolaget’s opening hours certainly are restrictive for anyone in need of a late night booze run. Its doors are closed all day Sunday, only open until 3p.m. Saturdays, 7p.m. Thursdays and 6p.m. on Fridays and the rest of the week, according to the study conducted by Thor Norstrom et. al.

Expensive booze

The cost of drinking in bars in Sweden is notoriously high too, even for visitors from London. The average price for a beer in a Stockholm bar is almost $8 as I’ve found to my cost– forcing many weekend revelers to party before heading out for the night.

Study’s Findings

Norstrom et. al’s study projected two scenarios in which Systembolaget’s monopoly over retail alcohol sales was broken and replaced with systems more commonly seen throughout the rest of the industrialized world.

If Systembolaget was replaced with 800 government-licensed speciality alcohol shops, the study said that alcohol consumption would increase by 17%, resulting in an annual increase of 770 alcohol-related deaths, 8,500 assaults, 2,700 drink driving offenses, and 4.5 million additional sick days in the country of a little more than 9 million people.

Even more startling were the study’s projections if Sweden’s grocery stores were allowed to sell all alcohol. As has been the case in Great Britain, the study said that fierce competition among the large chains would lead to lower prices.

Anarchy in the U.K.

British-daily newspaper, the Independent, recently reported that alcohol-related hospital admissions in the U.K. have risen by 825 a day in five years to almost a million. Cut-price alcohol sold by grocery stores and drinks deals in bars have been blamed for much of the damage.

The Stockholm University study said that if Sweden went the same route, it would expect an additional 2,000 deaths, 20,000 assaults, 660 drink driving offenses and 11.1 million extra days of sick leave per year.

Advertising

The study also pointed out the Systembolaget doesn’t advertise, but it seems likely that private retailers would. It cites a previous study by Saffer and Dhaval that said advertising of beer, wine or spirits raised consumption by 5%.

You Decide

In Sweden’s case it seems that government intervention, more than education has helped limit alcohol-related problems that have blighted equivalent countries in recent years.

In times where government control of any area of life is being fought by the right in the United States, Swedes make little fuss about government-controlled alcohol. The system works, but is it an abuse of peoples’ freedoms or the government performing its duty to benefit the majority?

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol Cold Turkey: Get and Stay Sober Without Alcoholics Anonymous

When you make the decision to finally quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, you have made the monumental decision to choose your health and well-being over addiction. Excessive alcohol consumption is socially acceptable drug abuse, and the habit can wreak havoc on a person’s body, organs, mind, and relationships. If you have arrived at a place in your life when you are ready to quit, your will and resolve will make it possible for you to quit on your own.

Admit to Yourself That You Have a Drinking Problem

If your drinking interferes with your daily life, your work, or your relationships, you have a drinking problem. You owe it to yourself to admit this to yourself. Once you have admitted this truth, you are ready to quit drinking cold turkey.

Quit Drinking Now

Heavy drinkers often make excuses that they can’t quit now. Excuses include the fact that they can’t quit because it’s the holidays, or because they are going through a stressful period in their life. The truth is nothing puts a body and mind under more stress than drug and/or alcohol abuse. Make the decision to begin an alcohol-free life now. If you have alcohol in your home, dispose of it all immediately.

Get Rid of Toxic Relationships

If you have friends with whom you drink, you need to rid your life of these people. Unless they are willing to embark on the journey to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey with you, you will need to stop spending time with them. These people are toxic to your mind and spirit, and could cause you to start drinking alcohol again.

Set Up a Support System

Talk to family members and friends who you think will be supportive of your decision to stop drinking cold turkey. Discuss with them your decision, and ask that they help you make it through this difficult time by being with you and occupying your mind and time.

Take Up New Relaxing Hobbies and Habits

A relaxed body creates a relaxed mind. Take up new hobbies that will help you relax your body and mind. Gentle exercises, like walking, Pilates, and yoga can be very beneficial while you quit drinking alcohol cold turkey. Start meditating daily, in order to clear your mind and help you resolve to maintain your new alcohol-free life. Relaxing, healthy hobbies like gardening, painting, or sculpting can help occupy your mind.

Additional Resources for Information on Staying Sober

This article should not be considered medical advice. Consult a physician before you stop drinking alcohol cold turkey, as your dependence may be psychological and physical.

Also, research the subject of how to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey without AA more in depth by checking out the following resources and sites:

  • How to Quit Drinking Without AA is a book by Jerry Dorsman (an addictions counselor and recovering alcoholic)
  • The Cult Called AA – by Paul Roasberry