The Decline of Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages have been a part of human society for more than twelve thousand years. Since around the year 10,000 B.C, human beings have been purposefully producing alcoholic beverages through the process of fermentation. The ethanol produced through this process of fermentation is a depressant, causing euphoria at lower doses and unconsciousness at higher doses. Because of how good it makes people feel, and how easy it is to make, alcohol is by far the most popular recreational substance ever discovered in recorded human history. When they have been given the opportunity, many different kinds of animals have also gladly consumed alcohol, but simply lack the ability to deliberately make it themselves. It has been estimated that approximately one third of the world’s population consume alcoholic beverages on somewhat of a regular basis. Currently, there are less than twenty countries in the world that have a prohibition on the sale of alcoholic drinks. While most countries have had a period of prohibition in the past, today it is almost solely countries that have a predominately devout muslim population which have banned alcoholic beverages. As a result of this nearly ubiquitous popularity in every human society that has ever existed, the production and selling of alcoholic beverages has always been a lucrative industry to be a part of. Last year, the global sales of alcoholic drinks in 2018 reached more than one trillion dollars, making the alcohol industry one of the most valuable industries in the world. Despite what all of these facts may lead you to believe, the consumption of alcohol is beginning to decline overall in recent years. 

There are a variety of factors that have contributed to the decline in popularity of alcohol in over the past several years, first and foremost among them being the well known negative health effects. In the short term, drinking alcohol is, while not by any means good for you, not usually significantly damaging to the human body when drunk at reasonable rates in reasonable amounts. When individuals drink too much too quickly, they will often lose consciousness, experience memory loss, and can even die of alcohol poisoning. Even when not consumed in such extreme amounts, the impaired judgement and motor skills that are caused by drinking alcoholic drinks frequently lead to serious injuries and death. The long term health effects of consuming alcohol are numerous and unpleasant in nature. Liver disease, heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeats have all been linked and correlated with the long term consumption of alcohol. Because of all of these things, alcohol is estimated to cause about three and a half million deaths every year, which is about six percent of all global deaths. Alcoholism has been estimated to take up to a decade off your lifespan, and is the most common addiction people suffer from. As other less harmful recreational substances like marijuana are becoming more popular, alcohol is becoming less popular. It is quite possible that in a few centuries, alcoholic drinks will be eliminated altogether, seen as just another strange tradition we no longer take part in.