We have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is making waves across the nation. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 47,000 people died in the United States alone from an opiate overdose in 2017, that is almost 5 times the amount of deaths caused by opiates in 1999. This is important, and yes it’s great that it’s attention that it deserves, but, in the same year, an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol related causes — Did anyone hear about that? No, not really. Maybe it’s because alcohol is such a regular part of our lives? Not to say that it’s a bad thing, but there’s something we need to talk about.
Did you know that alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States? The first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and minimal physical activity. It would be interesting to look up the statistics on other countries as well, but for now we will just focus in on America. Given these stats, why aren’t we talking about it? And why don’t we see warning labels on alcoholic beverages like we do on other substances? Why are we promoting such a harmful substance? We certainly don’t see huge billboards with people in bikinis popping oxycontin or injecting heroin, because we are well aware that these substances are addictive and can cause harm, so again, why are we openly promoting alcohol? Especially to young people?
Information like this can be quite helpful, especially people who have a drinking issue and would like to cut down. Most of the time, many of these people don’t really see an issue with alcohol, but at the end of the day, it’s just not a healthy habit.
Is it possible that alcohol related deaths do not garner as much of a cause for concern because it is legal, easily available and socially acceptable? After all, alcohol sales reached $253.8 billion in the US in 2018 — this might also have something to do with it. Something to think about…
There is no doubt about it, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture. So much so, that choosing not to drink is often the more odd thing to do. People will always ask, oh, how come you’re not drinking? As opposed to other drugs, people won’t typically ask, oh why aren’t you smoking meth tonight? Or whatever it may be.
Binge drinking is practically expected on the weekends, and for many people it is a way to unwind, let loose and have fun after a long workweek. Many people justify their consumption this way insisting that it’s fine, because, I don’t drink every day. The thing about alcohol abuse is that it doesn’t have to be every day to be considered a problem or for the person to be considered an alcoholic. (source)
Something to think about if you’re a health conscious individual…
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