Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pediatricians Make Lousy Bartenders

Look, drunks make lousy parents. I'm not going to argue that. However, I am willing to discuss the level of intervention that the state should take when it comes to identifying and intervening when it is suspected that a parent has a drinking problem.

No, I'm not writing about something that happened to me (yet). I'm talking about the goody two-shoes parents who told Children's Hospital Boston that it's okay to get screened for alcohol abuse while they're taking their child to the doctor. Of the 879 parents asked, 90% were open to being asked about their alcohol use.

The problem with alcohol screening is that the thresholds are set way too low. This study found that one in every nine parents were found to have a "positive alcohol screen," and 75% of the parents with a positive screen were willing to be screened for alcohol problems during the visit--probably because they didn't know they'd be "problem" cases.

Then the researchers launched further attacks, raising the possibility that the parents who declined the screening were probably also drunks who knew they'd fail the test. If you're not guilty, you have nothing to hide, right? (/sarcasm)

Yes, alcoholics bad, responsible parents good. Still, they've got no right poking into my business, and they can take my ice-cold Schlitz when they pry it out of my ice-cold (dead) hand!

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Jen said...

I wouldn't need to drink if I didn't have kids.

Stanley! said...


But is that the sort of thing that pediatricians take into account? Hardly.

It's all "Oh no, you got $42.55 from redeeming the cans from your drinking over the weekend, you must be an alcoholic."

Not that that happened to me. No, it was, um, a friend.

Shari Thomas said...

I knew there was a reason I didn't have kids. One less opportunity to pry into my privacy.

Seriously, just what do these folks (the medical community) intend to do with the parents? Or worse yet, with the children?

There are way too many professionals with too much time on their hands.

Stanley! said...

I think the idealists would want the medical professionals to intervene, make the parents realize that they have a problem, and help them to stop drinking and become better people.

And I'm sure that's exactly the way it would play out in the real world. NOT.

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