America has a deadly drinking problem, which is getting worse, especially among the young.

A November 1 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that “an estimated 1 in 8 deaths among U.S. adults aged 20 to 64 years were attributable to excessive alcohol use, including 1 in 5 deaths among adults aged 20 to 49 years.”

The trend is disturbing. On June 30, the National Institutes of Health reported that “deaths involving alcohol jumped 25.5% between 2019 and 2020.” Before the COVID pandemic, more than 140,000 people were dying annually from alcohol, according to the CDC.

While America’s opioid epidemic, and the pandemic, have gotten more attention, the sharp rise in alcohol deaths should be alarming.

And it should also be the impetus for Congress to tap the breaks on a measure that would allow the U.S. Postal Service to deliver alcohol to people’s homes. Doing so will literally play into the hands of mischievous, tech-savvy teenagers who will no doubt be able to place online orders and commandeer a good deal of the deliveries, no matter the safeguards.

In 2021, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., introduced legislation allowing for direct shipments by the Postal Service of distilled spirits, wine and beer. The measure has life and has been plodding along. It could get enacted in the chaos and bizarre political machinations that characterize lame-duck sessions of Congress.

Yet, there is even a large segment of the alcohol industry that opposes the measure.

In a February 8, 2021, press release, a coalition including the American Beverage Licensees and the National Beer Wholesalers Association warned, “Allowing the USPS to ship beverage alcohol would compromise the work of policymakers across America who work hard to control underage access to alcohol and keep moderate levels on consumption part of safe and healthy communities.”

Some have even wrongly claimed that the measure would help turn around the service’s dire finances.

The head of the Distilled Spirits Association wrote that the measure “would generate $180 million in annual revenue for the USPS, which would provide a much-needed boost to this essential federal agency and its more than 600,000 workers and employees.”

Yet, the $180 million represents just 0.2 percent of the service’s fiscal year 2022 revenues of $78.5 billion. And Congress has provided the agency $120 billion in financial assistance over the last two years.

For a pittance of additional revenues, the agency would have a regulatory albatross on its neck with all the related costs. The Constitution’s 21st Amendment reserves the authority to regulate the delivery and use of alcohol to each individual state. Today, there are a dizzying, voluminous number of different regulations in all 50 states.

The Postal Service will thus face an unpleasant choice. It can go through a dizzying array of bureaucratic hoops for a 0.2 percent increase in annual revenue, along with the attendant public relations and branding issues inherent with this new product.

Or it can recklessly cut corners to please a select segment of the alcohol industry while running risks to its reputation and public health.

Either way, the odds are high that the service will lose financially.

Speier’s legislation should be tabled. It is increasingly dangerous considering the recent scientific findings. Even if the business case could somehow be made for the service to sell alcohol, it would be at odds with its mission to bind the nation together.

Excessive, widespread alcohol abuse is sadly another factor causing our country’s heartbreak.