Remember that old saw: “If you quit drinking, you won’t live forever – it’ll just seem that way?” Well, you’re more likely to live forever if you keep drinking – as well as enjoying yourself more. There is a God! We just have to keep kids from finding out.

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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, April 12, 2008. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

Want to Live Long? -- Drink

The U.S. is currently busy translating its traditional temperance attitude that alcohol is evil into the modern medical formulation that drinking is pure, unadulterated risk and the source of a special, widespread disease. But a funny thing happened -- epidemiologists discovered that moderate drinkers live longer than abstainers!

Although researchers have known this for some time, government and public health forces have conspired to hide this fact from American citizens - otherwise, they might drink. (All the public health officials I know themselves drink. They just don't think the average American can be trusted with the information that alcohol prolongs life.)

But apparently it is hard to keep this secret. "How To Live To 100," in the March 9 Sunday supplement magazine, Parade, was distributed to 23 million American homes. The article lets the cat out of the bag that drinkers reduce their risk of coronary disease - by far America's biggest killer. (It mistakenly attributes this benefit only to wine, while it actually holds for all forms of beverage alcohol.)

What a mind bender! How do we tell kids alcohol is bad when middle-age daily drinkers lower their death rate by 20 percent? No other beverage or food conveys such an advantage. (That drinking reduces your risk of dying as well as enhancing your enjoyment of life suggests there could be a God. Just don't get your hopes up that they'll soon discover that eating canolies makes you live longer.)

I know - let's lie to kids. They'll never figure out we're pulling the wool over their eyes. They'll then be happily ignorant like all those non-researchers and people who aren't public health specialists. They just won't live as long those in the know.