The short and simple answer: Yes. But you may be wondering: Just how great is the risk? Has it been exaggerated?
Alcohol Is a Leading Cause of Death
According to the World Health Organization, more than three million deaths each year (that’s one person for every ten seconds) can be attributed to alcohol consumption. A new study released by the Center for Disease Control pegs alcohol abuse at number 4 in the “leading preventable causes of death in the United States.” Alcohol accounts for nearly 10 percent of all fatalities in this country.
Alcohol Is a Drug
Alcohol is often viewed as one of the more innocuous drugs, or not a “drug” at all, for a few reasons. Not only is it legal in most countries, but it is heavily glamorized in pop culture as a benign, attractive, even classy form of “fun.” The drug’s drinkable liquid form is also deceptive, since we tend to associate “hard” drugs with tablets, powders, or intravenous injections—not tasty drinks.
Despite all that, alcohol is indeed a powerful drug that affects the judgment, cognition, coordination, and inhibition required for maintaining one’s safety. Alcohol has a high potential for abuse, and not just for those with traces of alcoholism in the family. It is crucial that the American public, especially the youth, is educated on the devastating effects alcohol has on the US alone.
How Alcohol Kills
The dangers of alcohol are both direct and indirect. The likelihood of stroke, cirrhosis, cancer, and immune-system issues are greatly increased by excessive drinking. Over a thousand people die each year from acute alcohol poisoning, lethal mixes of alcohol with other drugs, or withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. In addition, ten-thousand deaths each year are caused by drunk-driving accidents, and roughly eighteen-hundred by other types of drunken accidents like falls, fires, or handgun incidents. Authorities report that over half of all homicides involve excessive drinking.
The bottom line: Excessive alcohol consumption puts everyone at risk–anyone sharing the same space as the millions of problem drinkers in this country.
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