The problem of beer and the so-called boosters
Will the hooligan rows disappear from sports stadiums? The Senate has passed a bill ‘On security of mass events’, which introduces severe penalty for bringing alcohol to football matches or smuggling pyrotechnic materials and other dangerous things, encroaching on the yard during football matches, throwing things that may be dangerous, battering of the guards. Those who cover their faces in order not to be identified are liable to penalty as well. Even those who do not want to follow the commands of the administrative officers can receive a fine of at least 2,000 zloty. Those who have been sentenced for offences during sports events can be sentenced for 2-6 years of interdiction to enter in stadiums, connected with the obligation to turn up at the police station during every match (which is to execute this interdiction more effectively). A unified system of identification is to be introduced at sports stadiums. Unfortunately, the devil had to butt in and the good bill has paragraph 8, point 3 that says that the government and then the Parliament allowed the possibility to ‘sell, offer and drink alcoholic drinks, including beer, containing no more than 4.5% of alcohol’ during mass events. The project made the Senate discuss a whole day. Law and Justice Party decisively opposed this solution. But a majority of the Citizen’s Platform had a different opinion. Therefore, it is the Parliament that will decide when this bill, after being amended, will return to the Senate. It is a pity that not all MPs think that allowing beer to be sold during football matches will make the security of sports fans worse. Alcohol, even in small quantities, increases aggression and other dangerous behaviours. One should take into account the fact that minors often come to watch sports or artistic events. It will be hard to enforce the prohibition of alcohol. Consequently, many of them may drink beer for the first time in their lives; some will do it out of curiosity to experience what excites adults. Others will drink since they know that beer increases the level of adrenaline. That’s why I am not afraid of using these words, first the government and then the Parliament have accepted the solution that will cause further misuse of alcohol among young people, will undermine the sense of all alcohol prevention. Since the pressure to drink beer at stadiums will be so big that young people will yield to it. This is a real terrorism that only few can resist. I know that I open myself up to the criticism of those who seldom drink and who do not overuse alcohol. Certainly, someone may accuse me of creating a picture of Poland full of drunkards, a picture of people lying on the pavements and stinking of urine, holding empty bottles of cheap wine, produced by the factory of Mr. Palikot, an MP. No, today’s Poland is by no means like this. But no one should say that there is no problem of alcoholism in our country. It is also true that very many Poles are giving up alcohol; they belong to the AA groups, and they fight for their dignity. One should also take responsibility for those that try not to get drunk every day but seeing alcohol at stadiums, seeing their colleagues drinking, they cannot resist the temptation. Life consists of important small things. Such a small thing in the education towards sobriety is abstaining from alcohol during mass events. One cannot neglect that. Alcohol need not be a necessary element of fun. On the other hand, the Parliament and the Senate spoke with one voice about drug addition prevention and legal control of new substances and plants used to produce the so-called boosters, i.e. means similar to drugs. They have appeared on the market quite recently and are officially sold allegedly for the reasons of collection. Creativity, or perhaps actually the cleverness, of some sellers to earn on human misfortunate has no limits. Sellers know that these substances cannot be eaten and that’s why, as I have already mentioned, they are sold as collections. Naturally, they wink at customers knowing that it is a legal scam protecting the firm from assuming responsibility.
Several years ago Polish scientists, examining the influence of psychoactive substances on human behaviour, warned against those means appearing on the European market. Unfortunately, our media did not report their results. And the law did not notice them. Yet, for example policemen lose heart and are helpless, seeing drivers whose behaviours are strange, and trying to use breathalysers or drug tests. Now after the new bill is passed they will have the possibility to examine the blood of such people to discover those means and punishing those who take them. One would like to say that it is a pity that the law follows phenomena. For example, the Dutch passed the law prohibiting hallucinogenic fungi only after it turned out that those who took them committed suicide more frequently. After all, marihuana and fungi were thoroughly examined and we knew what to expect. We also knew the effects of the substances included in boosters and we are reacting to that only now. The appendix to the bill has a long list of illegal substances but life as I know it, today or tomorrow some new means will be produced, which are not mentioned in the list. Should the minister of health not have free hand to extend the list? However, the important thing is that the law cannot be the only form to regulate the matters of threats to heath and life. There are social norms, responsible human behaviour, parents’ control, the responsibility of schools that should not only educate but also bring up. We should also support the development of wise prevention and education programmes and not instructions, which one can find in the Internet or in some school textbooks. We should collaborate with young people, help them spend their free time wisely, organise proper entertainment and sports lessons. I hope that this is not my wishful thinking. (5 March 2009)