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Editorial: Nebraska must do more to address liquor in Whiteclay

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: border towns, liquor, nebraska, whiteclay
     
   

A sign at Whiteclay, Nebraska. Photo from Sober Indian, Dangerous Indian / Facebook

Nebraska newspaper calls on Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) to live up to his promise to address social, health and law enforcement issues in Whiteclay, a town whose economy is based on selling liquor to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation:
It's impossible to accurately quantify human suffering with money, but the Whiteclay situation has its own facts and figure.

The four stores generated about $113,800 in state excise taxes and $213,000 in federal excise taxes last year, according to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, but activists say that's more than offset by the costs of caring for foster children with fetal alcohol syndrome, costs usually borne by taxpayers.

It's a complicated problem, crossing three political lines, Nebraska, South Dakota and the federal government, and liquor and grocery interests have been successful in derailing earlier efforts to change the tragic status quo.

Should alcohol be legalized on the reservation, taxed and the money used to provide alcohol treatment?

Perhaps.

Should Nebraska laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors, intoxicated individuals, and above certain bulk quantities be enforced?

Definitely.

Would increased or expanded prohibition help? No, it more likely would only increase costs to the consumers and increase costs to society in general.

Gov. Ricketts should keep his promise to take effective action on the Whiteclay problem and legislators, law enforcement and other governmental bodies should either help or at least get out of the way.

Get the Story:
Editorial: As Whiteclay tragedy continues, leaders should take action (The McCook Gazette 10/12)

Related Stories:
Maia Szalavitz: Stereotypes about Native Americans and alcohol (10/2)
Ivan Star: Ignoring alcoholism leads to destruction of the Lakota (01/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Alcohol is the most devastating weapon (12/5)


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