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May 16, 2018

On April 30, the Traverse City Police Department received a call from an employee working at Deerings Market on Barlow Street. It was about a two-year-old boy who walked into the store, alone and obviously terrified. When law enforcement arrived, they were able to find the child’s house on Baldwin Street, nearly three blocks from Deerings. When they got there, neighbors reported that the child had been playing in the street unsupervised for an hour before showing up at the market. When the police went to the door, they found the child’s father on the couch, unconscious and surrounded by alcohol. The father was already on probation at the time for previous charges, so he was arrested for violation of probation and child abuse to the fourth degree.

But the deeper problem within this story is the fuel for it: alcohol. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or the NIAAA, 26.9 percent of people 18 and older have reported that they have “binge-drank” over the past month. This could pose as a major problem for the families of these people, especially children. The NIAAA also concluded that more than 10 percent of children are living in a household with at least one alcoholic.

Some adults say that “one drink never hurt anybody,” but this is not true. Studies show that someone’s thinking is impaired after their first sip of alcohol. But when someone is drinking, the probability of only having one sip is highly unlikely.

And why are we repeatedly reading about the same person receiving DUI after DUI, after DUI? After this happens, sure, the receiver is put on probation, but probation doesn’t last forever. Once someone’s probation is over, there’s nothing stopping them from going to the liquor store and buying alcohol; and there’s nothing stopping them from falling right back into their old habits again.

So, I propose a solution for all of America. When someone goes to a store and purchases alcohol, they should be carded, no matter how old they appear to be, to ensure the legality of their purchase. And for the people like the father of the two-year-old little boy, there should be an indication for the distributors of the alcohol that says something along the lines of “Do not sell this person alcohol.”

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