What I did notice on my most recent trip, though, is how many obviously pickled people there are just going about everyday life as residents. When you used to be picked all the time, whether or not you were actively drunk, you know what pickled people look and act like, and Las Vegas is full of them. You can tell. The puffy faces, the hungover expressions, the wrinkles, the shakes, lots of people with bad teeth, lots of people in the airport who are being wheeled around and are obviously pickled.
Makes me wonder what the alcohol-related death rate is here, and how many rehabs and support group meetings there must be scattered around. This city is a great example of what happens when we promote alcohol too strongly, and it's not just drunken young tourists who pay. It's the regular residents, of all ages and in all walks of life.
If you've ever been to Las Vegas, you already know that it's a party town. Every vice you want is available, legal or otherwise, and that's what draws people here. Tourists come here with the goal of staying wasted for the duration of their trip, and many do. You see them all around the main strip, in hotels and casinos as well as on the streets.
I come here pretty often for business, and am a frequent flier in and out of LAS. I never much liked the city, even when I came here as a heavy drinker, and so I certainly don't feel like I'm missing anything by being what feels like the only teetotaler in town. And once you get outside the downtown area, it's not really that much different from other cities, though it gets very hot here in the summer.