That’s right, grain alcohol, the same that is consumed by humans, has an alternative use as an industrial solvent. Does that sound like something that should be ingested?
State officials say they removed grain alcohol — or ethanol — because it is being used with increasing frequency on college campuses by youthful binge drinkers. Grain alcohol is so potent that a person can suffer alcohol poisoning before the body’s defense mechanism — passing out — kicks in.
The decision takes off the shelves four products, each 190 proof, that are distributed under the Everclear and Diesel brand names. North Carolina follows several other states in banning the products.
In making its decision, the state ABC Commission has recognized that the only reason to consume grain alcohol is to get drunk, which isn’t a crime, but nor is it something the state should necessarily facilitate. Left on the shelves will be 151 proof liquor, 75.5 percent alcohol, which can certainly be abused, but it is more diluted.
What the state ABC Commission cannot accomplish is preventing people from abusing alcohol to the point it threatens their health. But by removing a product whose only purpose is intoxication, the commission at least makes drinking oneself to death or the verge of death a bit more difficult.
No one is being denied the pursuit of drunkenness, which we are sure is protected by the Constitution.