The effort to educate young people about the dangers of alcohol and to encourage those who need help, to seek it, continues during Alcohol Awareness Month. Now in the second week of the annual event, it is vital that we take part in the national conversation about this most crucial topic.
The influence of alcohol on American society is immense. The mind-altering substance is the most heavily used and abused by far, compared to other drugs. More than 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. According to Facing Addiction with NCADD, alcohol addiction is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States.
Advocating for the treatment and recovery from alcohol use disorder or AUD is of vital importance. Breaking the stigma of addiction and encouraging those who struggle to seek help saves lives. One in every 12 adults in America is living with untreated AUD or alcohol dependence. That statistic works out to be about 17.6 million people.
Opioid use and opioid use disorder are receiving a lot of attention of late, and for a good reason. However, there are significantly more people caught in the grips of alcohol addiction than opioid use disorder. More than 2.5 million Americans were abusing prescription opioids or heroin in 2016, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
While the number of people misusing opioids is alarming, as is the more than 70,000 overdose deaths in 2018, alcohol remains a more significant threat to society. Raising awareness about risky drinking patterns and AUD is critical. Alcohol-related problems are preventable through education; we can reduce alcohol-related death rates with treatment.
Alcohol Awareness Month 2019
“Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” is this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month theme. Facing Addiction with NCADD is sponsoring events to educate teens and young adults about the dangers of “binge drinking.” The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as typically occurring after four drinks for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours.
Individuals who engage in risky drinking practices significantly increase their risk of experiencing health problems. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that 66.6 million people from age 12 to 17 report binge drinking. Young binge drinkers are more likely to develop dependence and alcohol use disorder. The NIAAA reports that about 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an AUD.
Young drinkers also increase their risk of severe health problems later in life. The number of health conditions that scientists associate with alcohol use is startling to consider. Such disorders include liver diseases, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular issues, and many forms of cancer. Moreover, it doesn’t take a lifetime of drinking to develop health issues relating to alcohol use.
The more people know about alcohol use, the better; when men and women have the facts, then they can take action to prevent problems. Alcohol use and use disorder in America is a crisis that does not receive enough attention. Alcohol Awareness Month aims to change the current reality, by educating people – young and old – about the treatment and prevention of alcohol addiction.
Southern California Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use, please know that help is available. Recovery is an achievable goal for all who are willing to seek help. One of the essential statistics Facing Addiction is disseminating is as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery from alcohol use.
At Pacific Shores Recovery, we offer detox, residential and outpatient treatment, transitional housing, and sober living for men and women. Our skilled addiction professionals assist people in their healing journey of recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our services.