Did you know that alcoholism is now the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.? This is from The Addiction Advisor:
Alcohol abuse is killing Americans at record rates not seen in the last 35 years, according to new research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The research shows that alcohol abuse deaths are now up 37% since 2002, making alcoholism now the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. According to the CDC report, more than 30,700 people in the US died from alcohol-related causes in 2014, including alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis of the liver.
I work in the field and yet I find it as hard to believe as anyone else. After decades of treatment, education and prevention efforts, the problem is getting worse. There just aren’t enough quality providers and not enough advocates who understand alcoholism and treatment of alcoholism. Most people I meet don’t even know how to talk about alcoholism with the same understanding as say, diabetes or asthma.
The article goes on:
The CDC reports that these numbers do not include deaths caused by drunk driving accidents or homicides/suicides committed while intoxicated. Taking these numbers into perspective, alcohol abuse has now killed more people than the overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined.
We hear in the news concern about heroin addiction, and rightly so, but I haven’t heard the above statistics reported with the same concern about alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The denial surrounding alcoholism is not as bad as it was when I started working in the field in the early 80s, but the denial’s still prevalent. There’s still too little emphasis placed on alcoholism as a major medical problem — doctors and nurses are not trained properly to deal with alcoholism. Even in 2016, alcoholism is still considered a moral weakness by far too many.
It’s mindboggling when you really let it sink in that alcoholism is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. This means that alcoholism is treatable. Not only can proper treatment prevent premature deaths, it can increase the quality of life for millions of people and their families who now suffer from alcoholism. Although a lot of alcoholics have received treatment and have recovered through the years since alcoholism was first recognized as a chronic brain disease, we’ve still got a very long way to go.