America’s Other Addiction Crisis
Over the past decade, countless lives have been affected by an addiction or abusive use of a widely available substance across America. It has led to overdoses, shattered families, and even the deaths of innocent people due to impaired driving.
You might think I’m talking about the ongoing epidemic of opioid addiction sweeping the country, but I’m actually discussing a substance abuse issue that has been affecting the US on a wider scale for much longer – alcohol misuse.
While Americans have become increasingly aware of the risks of drug abuse and addiction due to the opioid crisis, Harvard Medical School professor John F. Kelly, Ph.D., argues we have lost sight of another health and addiction issue that continues to claim lives every day.
As Kelly explains in a new op-ed for Psychology Today, “although alcohol arguably presents a greater threat to public health than opioid misuse, it has in many ways been overlooked in the recent national conversation about substance use disorders.”
We have a distinctly complicated relationship with alcohol as it is legal and widely available for adults despite its ability to impair judgement and contribute to a number of physical and mental health issues.
Although these risks can largely be minimized or avoided when used in moderation and with responsibility, widespread alcohol misuse presents a clear danger in the US and around the world.
It is all but undeniable that we need more awareness and efforts to intervene in opioid misuse, we must not lose sight of the risks that other, more available forms of drugs and alcohol pose.