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Prohibition in Alaska is not a new thing. Prohibition has been in place since the 1980’s, however, now people have had enough. Not being able to purchase or even possess alcohol is too much for the majority. In her article “Is Prohibition a Good Idea after all?” Alana Semuels states that prohibition is not doing as much good as first thought. Her statement is true because prohibiting alcohol is depriving Alaskan villages a large amount of money and not allowing villagers to find their alcoholic limits which leads to massive binge drinking.
First off, banning the sale of alcohol in Alaskan villages is depriving the villages of a considerable amount of revenue. According to an article published on the USA Today website, the “annual alcohol sales total $5.5 million, which is equal to more than half of the city’s annual budget” (In Remote Alaska…). This substantial amount of revenue being lost could be instead put to use by increasing the police force in Alaskan villages to help enforce laws on alcohol consumption. Even more it could go towards raising awareness to Alaskan villages about alcohol abuse and assaults/alcohol-related incidents. Moreover, alcohol taxes in Alaska are not shown to deter consumers from purchasing alcohol; in fact it increases the sale of liquor. In the article “Alaskans Drank More Despite Higher Alcohol Tax, Drink Prices” author Kyle Hopkins writes “instead of cutting back because of the extra cost, Alaskans kept right on drinking. The tax on hard liquor doubled, yet sales of whiskey, vodka and other spirits have grown 41 percent since the increase” (Hopkins). So taxing alcohol would not stop or deter the purchase of liquor in fact it would more than likely increase the purchasing of liquor which would mean more revenue for the villages who choose to lift the ban on alcohol or even those villages who choose to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol.
Furthermore, reintroducing alcohol into Alaskan villages will slowly allow villagers to accumulate a sense of their limits. With no liquor being allowed in some villages it pressures villagers to binge drink whenever they come in contact with alcohol. In an article posted on the USA Today website, it states “They drink themselves to death or pass out in the below-zero cold, where they can count themselves lucky if they merely lose some fingers or a limb to frostbite” (In Remote Alaska…). Binge drinking is causing incidents since most Alaskan natives do not know how to handle their liquor. Reintegrating liquor into Alaskan villages would lessen villagers from feeling the need to binge drink and allow them to find their alcoholic limits and eventually being able to drink responsibly,
It may be thought that villages who allow the sale, consumption and possession of liquor would have more assaults, homicides and suicides seeing as how there is more access to alcohol but in fact that is untrue. In an article published by the Associated Press, about a study on safety in dry villages compared to “damp” or wet villages, states “They’ve shown that suicides, homicides and motor-vehicle collisions are higher on reservations that ban alcohol” (Study Finds Alaska…). Villages who ban alcohol in fact are shown to have more homicides and suicides than those who allow the sale, consumption and possession of liquor.
Given these points, Alaskan villages should lift the prohibition on alcohol consumption, sale and possession. Instead of forcing all the alcohol out of Alaska they should use the massive revenue that alcohol sales will bring in and increase their police presence which might deter villagers from binge drinking and breaking laws. Using the revenue to inform villagers how to drink responsibly seeing as how they have not been able to legally drink for a very long time. Villagers are probably unaware of how to drink responsibly which probably causes all the binge drinking and alcohol-related incidents. Making villagers aware of how to drink responsibly and what their limits are will overall leave the Alaskan communities a safer place and prevent massively over drinking.
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