Excess drinking hurts. There is nothing unusual about addiction, and as families open up and share experiences we are understanding the magnitude of their losses in ways we never have before. Excess drinking is deadly. Nationally, alcohol consumption is to blame for 1 in 10 deaths among working age adults.
Add to this the public costs, and the impact is painful. One study estimated losses of $8.2 billion in a single year due to excess drinking. Of that total, it is estimated that Michigan taxpayers covered $3.5 billion.
Given these realities, it makes sense to act reasonably and responsibly to limit the hazards. Michigan can look to proven strategies. Public health groups widely support the use of CDC guidelines for prevention of excess alcohol consumption. The CDC recommends states do not increase hours of alcohol sales.
Senate Bill 48 revives the effort to bring longer bar hours to Michigan. If passed, it would increase drinking time in certain Michigan establishments. “Closing time” could extend from 2 am until 4 am.
A previous bill to increase bar hours, SB 247, died in session at the end of last year. It was a good moment for public health policy, for taxpayers, and for the public as a whole.
Michigan should align with proven public health strategies where they are available and reasonable. Excess drinking hurts. We can limit the harm. Longer bar hours are still a bad idea.