Thank you for your cover story highlighting the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning ["Deadly addiction," News, April 12].
The truth is that these deaths are mostly preventable -- if not by the victims themselves, then by a community that demands strict enforcement of existing laws governing alcohol, as well as a willingness to look at how we promote binge drinking.
In the sad case of Matthew Sunshine, there were charges against two students who provided the alcohol, but in most cases the question is never asked, and the "alcohol trail" is not followed: Who sold the alcohol, and to whom? Who was the bartender who continued to serve an already intoxicated Shana Dowdeswell? When there is a DWI crash, where was the place of the last drink? At whose home was a person served so much alcohol that he drove the wrong way down a major highway?
These are the questions that must be asked every time there is an alcohol-related news story -- we encourage the media to take the lead on this.
We must look at the environment that makes over-drinking seem normal, natural and fun: TV commercials about drunken office parties, ads for "unlimited drinks" with brunch, festivals where overdrinking is part of the fabric.
Our youth see binge drinking as normal -- and that does not bode well for their future.
Judi Vining, Long Beach
Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of Long Beach Aware, formerly known as the Long Beach Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking.