About the author

Stuart Silverstein is assistant editor at FairWarning.

3 comments to “They Say ‘Drink Responsibly,’ But What Does It Mean?”

  1. Lew Howe

    Drink responsibly is a cynical and cruel joke that demonstrates the contempt that the liquor industry has for it’s most loyal customers
    Anyone who understands the nature of alcoholic behavior knows that If you say you are trying to control your drinking
    It means your drinking is controlling you
    I have seven months of sobriety and I know that the words drinking and responsibly do not belong together for me and so many of my fellows
    Saying ” please drink responsibly” to a drunk is akin to telling a depressed person to cheer up and snap out of it– all it does it put the onus on the sufferer while asking them to do the impossible in the most insulting way imaginable

  2. Maik Dünnbier

    Ben Kelley, your statements and analysis is spot on. There’s nothing positive about “responsibility” messages. If we just consider the health dimension of alcohol harm, independent evidence shows overwhelmingly that there is no safe amount of alcohol intake, that alcohol is not healthy and that using alcohol increases the risk for cancer, heart disease, etc. So, only from that dimension of alcohol harm the responsibility messages are called into question.

  3. ben kelley

    The subtext of the alcoholic beverage industry’s “drink responsibly” ad pitch is that the drinker, not the hard-sell industry, is primarily to blame for his-her alcohol-induced bad behavior. It denies or marginalizes the fact that the manufacturers and sellers have a major role as well. Meanwhile, the “drinking is fun” and “let’s party” type of message promotes just the kind of over-consumption that can lead to dangerous behavior, such as drunk driving, etc. “Drink responsibly” is an insidious way of protecting the beverage marketers from liability when people “misuse” their products and someone gets hurt as a result – another version of the “blame the victim” mantra so dear to the hearts of industries that make, sell, and profit from hazardous products. The once-common “drive safely” message put forward by the auto industry had the same subtext: car crash injuries are principally the fault of drivers, not unsafe cars. We know better now. Or, given the current turmoil over the cover ups of injury-causing defects by GM, Toyota, and others, maybe we don’t.

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