Worse than opioids: Alcohol deaths soar among the middle aged, women

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
52,799
38,764
Ohio
#1
So when are we going to start demanding the government act on this?

From 2007 to 2017, the number of deaths attributable to alcohol increased 35 percent, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The death rate rose 24 percent.

*snip*

As opioid overdoses, which kill about 72,000 people a year, grabbed America's attention, the slower moving epidemic of alcohol accelerated, especially in Southern states and the nation's capital. About 88,000 people die each year from alcohol.

Making matters worse, alcoholism is trickier to treat – and criticize – than opioid addiction.

"Culturally, we’ve made it acceptable to drink but not to go out and shoot up heroin," Miller says. "A lot of people will read this and say 'What's the problem?' "

It might be a more socially acceptable addiction, but alcoholism is at least three times costlier to treat than opioid addiction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it's a far more complicated midlife crisis to address.
Worse than opioids: Alcohol deaths soar among the middle aged, women
 
May 2016
3,559
883
california
#5
There have been recent condemnations of alcohol comsumption of any amount. So rather than showing the hypocrisy of alcohol versus drugs (control), it's more likely to just restrict alcohol further along with drugs. I wouldn't worry though, the black market will provide.
 
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Likes: johnflesh
Jun 2011
48,786
20,383
God Bless Texas
#7
Random thought: Ron Paul was for legalizing drugs. He made people applaud when he said if heroin were legal, people wouldn't suddenly start doing it. But they do. Oxy is heroin. Hydrocodone is heroin. Codiene is heroin (Tylenol 3). People ask for it all the time.

I was scripted heroin for a cat bite. #normal.
 
Jun 2011
48,786
20,383
God Bless Texas
#8
I took some smack last night. It's good stuff, I have to say. And it's interesting the different experience with me knowing it's smack rather than just a pain pill. It doesn't actually do anything for pain. It makes your mind and body so relaxed and good feeling you don't get the pain signals.

I was like that's cool, whatever works. (on a very occasional basis, I am not going to get a monkey over pain that is manageable).

I'm not sure which is more dangerous. Believing it's just a pain pill or knowing it's heroin. Legal heroin. For legit pain. The exact right amount for the level of pain.

That is certainly 'socially approved'. If I simply said I took a Tylenol 3 with codeine in it for back pain before bed, no one would blink an eye anymore than if I said I had one or two cocktails before bed.

And very moderate drinking does not lead people into addiction as fast as heroin. The body develops a tolerance in 10 days. I was acutely aware of this before I recognized my hydrocodone as heroin.

Tons of people go their entire lives having occasional drinks or moderate drinking and never descend into alcoholism. The same can't be said for heroin.

I feel this article is flawed.
 
Feb 2011
16,343
5,684
Boise, ID
#9
So when are we going to start demanding the government act on this?

Worse than opioids: Alcohol deaths soar among the middle aged, women
It's really not that important to argue over which is technically "worse" than the other. We know that each substance is playing a huge role in destroying a lot of lives.

A lot of people in the business of treating addiction will ultimately say we need to dump more money into treatment and counseling, which is always a little bit self-serving seeming, even if it's probably true.

The treatment community needs to do more than just try to help people recover from alcohol use disorders and calling on legislatures to throw more money at them, they need to be at the forefront of attempting to shift cultural attitudes about alcohol. People need to know they're drinking an addictive mild poison and that the mere desire (urge) for a drink is indicative of a problem, regardless of quantity/frequency. Primary care doctors need to be assertively asking their patients about alcohol use and recommending less than 2 drinks a week, and telling their patients that if they compulsively use any more than that, that it's a problem.

There shouldn't need to be this cognitive dissonance and shame around it. It's a very culturally accepted addictive mild poison. There isn't a black-and-white line between "I'm an addict, I'll always be an addict" vs. "I don't have a problem." It can be in the middle of that. People aren't necessarily always a flawed addict or not. Some are mild addicts. Some are moderate addicts. Some people can go from a place of addictive, compulsive, excessive use to basically just not being addicts anymore.

There's also a pretty mixed bag of effectiveness of different treatment approaches. 12-step facilitation has shown some good results. Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Alcohol Use Disorders have shown some positive effects. But so have some self-help books. Some rehabs have shown some pretty good results in the short-term, but failed to produce long-term recovery any better than brief outpatient treatment.

The cultural norms around alcohol have it being increasingly ubiquitous and culturally accepted. Major grocery stores have installed growler stations, some grocery stores have bars and drink holders to get people drinking alcohol while shopping, the craft brewery wave of the last 20 years has played a big role. To change this tide is going to take some smart social influencing.
 
Jun 2011
48,786
20,383
God Bless Texas
#10
People need to know they're drinking an addictive mild poison and that the mere desire (urge) for a drink is indicative of a problem, regardless of quantity/frequency.
Just as they should know that opioids are heroin. I guarantee a lot of people would say NO if they understood it was heroin.

But to your point, my sister and I talked about this because we come from alcoholics. She won't drink to celebrate or if she's had a stressful or bad day. She's not going to use it to self-medicate or 'party'. If a few cold beers over a game of cards or pool or whatever sounds good, that is within her rules for acceptable drinking.

The article was right about this: a ton of people are drinking their evenings away. Every or most evening. Some are open about it and some are not. Like is said, a lot of women feel a stigma and will have a cocktail or two with someone and then go home and drink more and not want people to know.

There are a ton of men in the convenience stores buying their beer after work with no shame. And there is another beer rush close to midnight when they stop selling.