The alcohol we drink for pleasure is the chemical Ethyl Alcohol (Ethanol). It is toxic to the brain and nerves, the heart, liver, kidneys and pretty much every other part of the human body. There would be very good reasons for classifying it as a Class A drug. In the UK it kills 100 people a day and is responsible for vast costs in medical and social care and in accidents and loss of work.
In the evenings and weekends 50% of the people seen in A & E departments are there as a result of using alcohol or drugs. 20% of all hospital beds are taken up by people with alcohol related clinical conditions. 20% of all suicides are related to high alcohol consumption. 10% of all post-mortem examinations show significant liver damage from alcohol.
But most people are able to drink alcohol without damage to themselves or to others. The problems come from people trying to prove that they can use it sensibly when the can’t.
The 1 in 6 people who do have problems with alcohol cause a huge amount of trouble. The rest of the population generally do not. They can be stupid at times but not as repeatedly stupid as people who regularly drink alcohol tend to be.