In 2016, this drug was associated with more deaths than auto and gun deaths combined.
Can you guess the drug?
According to Center for Disease Controls data, 88,000 people died as a result of alcohol consumption in 2016. Sixty-four thousand died from overdosing on other drugs that year - ~20,000 from opioid drugs alone.
So given the magnitude of the problem – why hasn’t this President or past presidents declared a public health emergency over alcohol use?
Is it because these drugs are legal (America’s drug of choice) and easily accessible or because the alcohol lobby is so strong?
Or could it be that the problem and the health risks have been around so long that we have become desensitized?
Is a return to Prohibition the answer?
Public health experts say there are many policy options available to Americans short of prohibition of alcohol sales (an idea that was a failure when tried in the 1920s and repealed in the early ‘30s).
According to a number of policy experts, there are a few policy options that might help reduce the death toll from alcohol use including:
Raise the alcohol tax.
Take the right to drink away more quickly from any individual who gets in trouble with the law due to alcohol.
Put states instead of private businesses in charge of alcohol sales. This step would likely keep alcohol prices higher, reduce youth access to alcohol, and reduce overall use as well.
Increase access to alcohol addiction treatment programs.
This much we know. Alcohol is a killer of the first order. And it’s time to talk about it.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to alcohol and need help in Connecticut or New Hampshire, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique model of care is producing rates of recovery that are many times above the national average. To learn more or to talk to one of our Recovery Specialists, visit www.awarerecoverycare.com.