Because alcoholism and drug abuse are often seen to be genetic, a movement is taking place to classify these illnesses as official disabilities. This may seem like an innocuous idea, but the ramifications are extensive.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) currently recognizes alcoholism as a disability. As such, employers may not refuse to hire an alcoholic. In jobs where safety is an issue, this is ridiculous. I don’t want an alcoholic school bus driver, an alcoholic heart surgeon, or an alcoholic airline pilot. Maybe that’s just my opinion.

By classifying alcoholism as a disability, employers are severely limited in what they can and cannot do in terms of hiring and firing. A self-confessed, active alcoholic can walk into your place of business, be interviewed, and if you refuse to hire him or her, they can sue you, claiming discrimination based on disability.

I do see alcoholism and drug abuse as a disability, but a self-imposed one. Any alcoholic or drug abuser is free to rid themself of the disability at any time, for any length of time. A person with Multiple Sclerosis, or one who is blind cannot do this. To put alcoholics in the same category as people with real disabilities is an insult to those who are really disabled.