University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
The organization of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD)
The organization of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers ( MADD), originally, was established to fight drunk driving, and to help those who have fallen victim to its injustice. However, over the years its focus has shifted, taking a different turn. They have accomplished some good things, but have avoided some important points and perhaps forgotten their key objective ; to keep drunks from driving. They now focus more on just preventing drinking in general, especially with minors and making the punishments for it so severe that it has, what I believe, more of a negative effect, especially with under aged drinking. As law enforcement and penalties have become tougher on alcohol-related offenses, harsher penalties are being handed down to drinkers than abusers of illegal drugs, (simple possession of which is strictly not allowed in the first place!) For instance, MIP’s punish under-age drinkers with months of probation as well as mandatory attendance at a number of AA meetings.
What a ridiculous sentence, requiring a non-alcoholic to sit through meetings where they must sit through and greet everyone else as an alcoholic. Sentences for possession of marijuana are a simple slap-on-the-wrist, with weak probation terms, measly compared to MIP’s. Because more emphasis is being placed cleaning up under-age drinking by imposing harsher sentences, MADD’s focus is actually posing a more negative effect on these teenagers. With the hassle of having to go to more extreme links to be able to drink occasionally, minors have resorted to taking more extreme measures, doing things such as various pills and marijuana . Both of which are by far, more addictive, and cause greater harm to the body. For example, opiates, as well are other illegal drugs, mimic neurotransmitters making them more addictive and more damaging to the brain’s structure and functionality. There is a wider variety of damaging long term effects. Marijuana, with the exception of use for medicinal purposes, is illegal in all 50 states. If kids start smoking it at an early age, they are most likely to continue doing so at an older age, hence always going to be getting in trouble with the law.
It’s like they say, marijuana is “the gateway drug,” and it leads to abuse of even more severe drugs, such as coke or heroine. I personally, would rather my own teenagers partake in the occasional social drinking with their friends, than be abusing any kind of illegal drugs or prescriptions. Drug use would more likely lead to a strong addiction that would effect their daily lives, battling addiction while trying to make a living. This dependency scenario does not happen near as much with alcohol. Alcoholism generally develops when you are older, not when you are in high school. MADD’s strong influential power in pressuring tougher legislation for penalizing drinking has negatively impacted teens by opening up the use of other more harmful illegal drugs that hone lesser penalties. MADD’s fight against the “addiction” that alcohol creates is a lost cause, as most crimes related to alcohol are committed by non-alcoholics. True, with the case of alcoholics, alcohol is an addiction, however, most DUI’s and other offences related to alcohol are committed by the casual drinker. The have made few efforts into giving those casual drinkers a safer option than driving. The one thing they did do however, is to promote the idea of a designated driver. In an ideal situation, that would be great. However, not a lot of people want to go to a bar and watch other people get drunk, then drive them home.
It isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. Therefore, it is not often that there is such a luxury of the DD.Doing a few small things could really benefit MADD’s original goal. Such as, putting some of that money into providing transportation for smaller cities for those people who go out and drink a little too much. It happens more in smaller cities per population then that of bigger cities. With that large amount of people not having the option of calling a taxi , that is where they are put in a difficult situation. If a drinker reaches the point where they know they have had too much to drink, especially with casual drinkers, who are suffer more from the smack down on drunk driving then the actual alcoholics, and they have no way home and the bartenders are kicking them out, they really do not have anything else they can do but try to drive home. If MADD paid a small portion of that million of dollars they spend on that one small thing, it would overall have a pretty large effect.
Of course if that person is given that option and they still chose to drive home, then yes they deserve a harsh punishment.If MADD brought back the focus to keeping drunk drivers off the street, they would be able to really make a difference. It is not with trying to prevent drinking, but with excepting that people are always going to drink and giving them safer options. The millions of dollars MADD wastes trying to cut down on any alcohol consumption in general, could be better put to use in establishing small town public services for providing safe transportation for those who have been drinking. Prohibition is a far-fetched goal to follow, so MADD really needs to reaffirm its original goal of ending drunk driving by being more realistic, spending money to alleviate the problem rather than an unrealistic goal of temperance.