It may seem like a silly statement to make to IOGT members that alcohol is a drug, however, to most Americans this is not the case. In America, there is a long record of maintaining a distinction between alcohol and drugs, which is fostered by the alcohol
Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect and it affects every part of your body. However, this idea gets lost in the general reporting and marketing of alcohol beverages and other drugs.
Every day, most if not all newspapers, magazines and even governmental reports and the Internet use the ubiquitous phrase: alcohol and drugs whenever both are being discussed.
In the USA, the IOGT-USA is beginning a campaign to try to change this erroneous use of language.
The alcohol industry has been very successful in maintaining as clear a separation as possible between alcohol and other drugs even though, chemically, there is generally a difference only in the effects that each of these drugs has. However, having this separation between alcohol and other drugs validated by the government and the press has kept the industry free of all types of restrictions, penalties, etc. Perhaps the best example of this is when a law actually prevents federal agents who are fighting our “War on Drugs” from saying anything about the drug, alcohol.
What can you do to support this policy?
First, be sure these terms are accurately used in your IOGT meetings and publications. Then, you could pause every time you catch yourself saying “alcohol and drugs” and restate it immediately as “alcohol and other drugs” or “drugs, including alcohol.”
When hearing “alcohol and drugs” stated by a friend or at a public meeting, feel free to politely suggest more grammatically correct and accurate ways of presenting that information.
When reading, watching TV, or cruising the Internet, if you see or hear the phrase, “alcohol and drugs,” you are encouraged to write a note (a postcard or an email) to inform whomever is writing or speaking the incorrect phrase to use more appropriate wording. You could type up a form note on your computer, and just add the name and address whenever the occasion arises.
This policy could be an interesting sort of study for the members of an IOGT club to report on at each meeting stating how many times they heard/saw the erroneous statement and how these ‘corrections’ were received. I would be interested in the results of any such informal or formal study.