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Recently there has been a lot of news and media publicity based around addiction, specifically the heroin and opiate epidemic. Meanwhile, we are ignoring one of the most harmful substances that is rampant in our society on a regular basis– alcohol. For many, alcohol is a way to relax after a long day of work. Having one, maybe two drinks on occasion can be acceptable for many. For others, however, it is an escape from reality. It is something they turn to on a regular basis to avoid facing whatever struggles that are currently present in their life. Yet, many of them see this as okay and justified because alcohol is legal. Compared to all the other substances floating around in our nation, alcohol is the one thing that is accepted everywhere. But alcoholism is real, and it affects massive numbers of people each year.

The Statistics

By the end of 2014 more than 30,700 Americans died as a result of either alcohol poisoning or cirrhosis. That is a 37% increase since the year 2002. Those statistics don’t even include deaths from drunk driving or other alcohol related accidents, which account for about 90,000 deaths in total. More people actually died from alcohol related incidents than those died from both heroin and painkillers combined.

Alcohol is Everywhere

Since the late 1990s, alcohol consumption and alcoholism have been on the rise, and how could we expect anything less? Alcohol is so proudly advertised and marketed it’s no wonder that it has become the deadliest drug in our society. Unless you are watching PBS kids, it is fair to assume that you will see at least one commercial advertising alcohol in some form or fashion. Whether it be a restaurant, a beer or liquor commercial, or just someone casually drinking in the commercial – it is everywhere. There’s no way to question why so many people cannot go through the day without thinking about it, or even stating that they need a drink. Yes, many times it is said out of annoyance or stress but oftentimes it is followed through. Some people also have no problem drinking and driving. They see it as okay provided they don’t get caught, and don’t consider that it may be a sign of alcoholism. Above all else, these mindsets have taken a toll on the younger generation. They are being taught that all of these things are acceptable and will only have consequences if they somehow get caught. Which many of us know is not always the case.

All that said, yes it is important that we acknowledge all these other harmful drugs and substances that are coming out of the woodwork. But we do not and should not forget the one that has always been there. More so, one that has proven in comparison to other recreational drugs to be of high risk. As we continue to fight our current heroin epidemic, we should remain conscious of the battle with alcohol that we have been fighting as well.

Struggling with Alcohol?

You aren’t alone, and help is available. Call 1-800-203-2024 for a free confidential assessment.