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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Alcohol is Taking More Lives Than Opioids

In recent years, when it comes to talking about deaths related to substance use, it is usually with regard to opioid overdose deaths. The nation has been battling prescription opioid and heroin use for over a decade, and the wake of the epidemic has been followed by a dramatic rise in overdose deaths. While the statistics are concerning and worth the attention of lawmakers and health officials, it is important that we do not lose sight of the impact that other mind altering substances are having on people's lives, especially when it comes to alcohol.

New data from the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) shows that alcohol is taking the lives of American adults at an alarming rate, The Washington Post reports. Excluding the deaths that resulted from drunk driving, more than 30,700 Americans lost their life as a result of alcohol related causes last year, such as alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis. The rate of deaths is an increase of 37 percent since 2002. Since the late `90s, per-capita alcohol consumption has been steadily on the rise, according to Philip J. Cook, a professor at Duke University.

"Since the prevalence of heavy drinking tends to follow closely with per capita consumption, it is likely that one explanation for the growth in alcohol-related deaths is that more people are drinking more," Cook wrote in an email. 

The findings are almost hard to believe, considering that the majority of talk regarding substance use related death involves painkillers and/or heroin. However, more people died from their use of alcohol last year (30,722) than from overdoses of prescription opioids and heroin combined (28,647). The data is a clear sign that we need to focus more on alcohol use prevention policies than we have been in recent years.

Alcohol is used more than any other drug on the planet, and abuse affects countless lives. The substance is highly addictive, and is essentially a poison with adverse effects on the human body. If you are or a loved one is battling alcoholism, Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea can help you break the cycle of addiction and begin recovery.

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