Why does so­ci­ety pro­mote al­co­hol use?

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Dr. John L. Bled­soe

Why is there an in­crease in al­co­hol abuse? Some peo­ple drink to re­duce stress. Oth­ers drink be­cause they like the feel­ing. An­other group drinks to es­cape prob­lems and some drink to fit in. A large num­ber be­come al­co­hol de­pen­dent.

I believe there are other rea­sons for al­co­hol abuse. First, it has be­come the ac­cepted so­cial lu­bri­cant. Se­condly, the al­co­hol in­dus­try pro­motes al­co­hol use as the way to have fun. Ads tell us to drink re­spon­si­bly, but never de­fine re­spon­si­ble drink­ing. Thirdly, the aver­age in­di­vid­ual doesn’t know what re­spon­si­ble drink­ing is.

When asked this ques­tion most in­di­cate re­spon­si­ble drink­ing is not be­com­ing in­tox­i­cated. Oth­ers say re­spon­si­ble drink­ing is not driv­ing drunk. The lat­est re­search in­di­cates re­spon­si­ble drink­ing for fe­males is never more than two stan­dard drinks a day. Re­spon­si­ble drink­ing for males is never more than three drinks a day ( A stan­dard drink is .6 ounces of al­co­hol). A 12 ounce beer with 5% al­co­hol con­tains .6 ounce of pure al­co­hol.

While so­ci­ety pro­motes the use of al­co­hol, other coun­tries are clamp­ing down on driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence. For ex­am­ple, a DUI in Rus­sia, Swe­den and Nor­way is .02. The BAC for DUI in Poland is .03. The BAC for DUI in France, Fin­land, Ger­many, Italy, South Africa and Eng­land is .05. The US is be­hind when it comes to ad­dress­ing the al­co­hol prob­lem. How­ever, most au­thor­i­ties say .05 BAC will be DUI in most states in the near fu­ture.

Why does Rus­sia, Swe­den and Nor­way con­sider per­sons with a .02 BAC im­paired. Why? Be­cause they are. The first thing im­paired by al­co­hol is the brain. Even though an in­di­vid­ual can pass a so­bri­ety test they are men­tally im­paired.

When you con­sider the fol­low­ing statis­tics, it doesn’t take a rocket sci­en­tist to know we have a se­ri­ous al­co­hol abuse prob­lem. Most au­thor­i­ties say one out of five in the US has an al­co­hol abuse prob­lem. Fifty per­cent of ER vis­its are re­lated to al­co­hol abuse. Sev­enty per­cent of Child abuse cases in­volve al­co­hol. Fifty- two per­cent of rapes, eighty- six per­cent of homi­cides, forty per­cent of traf­fic deaths and sev­enty- five per­cent of do­mes­tic as­saults in­volve al­co­hol. Ap­prox­i­mately, 50 mil­lion strug­gle with al­co­hol abuse.

Ex­ces­sive al­co­hol use, in­clud­ing un­der­age and binge drink­ing lead to in­creased risk of health prob­lems such as in­juries, vi­o­lence, liver dis­eases, and cancer. Binge drink­ing is five or more drinks on an oc­ca­sion for men and four or more drinks on an oc­ca­sion for women. Al­co­hol abuse is the fourth cause of death in the US. Al­co­hol abuse kills ap­prox­i­mately 88,000 peo­ple in the United States each year.

Al­co­hol abuse cost the United States $ 249 bil­lion in 2010 ( About $ 2.05 per drink). 77 per­cent of these costs were due to binge drink­ing. A CDC study in­di­cates it is also a drain on the econ­omy. If al­co­hol abuse is a prob­lem, and it is, why doesn’t so­ci­ety ed­u­cate and warn the public about the dan­gers of al­co­hol abuse?

What is the an­swer to this grow­ing prob­lem? 1. Ed­u­cate the public on the ef­fects of al­co­hol on the brain and body. 2. In­crease tax on al­co­hol to de­fray ex­penses caused by al­co­hol abuse. 3. De­crease avail­abil­ity by lim­it­ing the num­ber and types of busi­nesses that sell al­co­hol. 4. Prac­tice tem­per­ance. John L Bled­soe, PhD, DMin Co- Oc­cur­ring Dis­or­ders Pro­fes­sional

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