Worst Drug Threat in America: Not What You Might Think

Worst Drug | Just Believe Recovery PA

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Worst Drug Threat in America: Not What You Might Think

What if there was a drug threatening the lives of people you knew on a daily basis? What if that drug contributed to the deaths of nearly 90,000 people every year in the U.S. alone? And what if it accounted for over 30% of driving fatalities?

By now, you probably know which drug I’m talking about. It’s alcohol. And restrictions aside, it is very legal in most areas of the country. Many believe, however, that it really is the worst drug out there.

A recent survey by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research revealed that 76% of all respondents named alcohol as a serious problem. That’s higher than any other drug – heroin, meth, crack, you name it. In fact, more people are concerned about alcohol than prescription painkillers – another deadly and steadily increasing scourge ravaging local communities and widely labeled as a public health epidemic.

Truthfully, more people encounter alcohol in their daily lives that many other drugs. And it’s mostly due to the availability of the substance. You can get it legally, and consume it socially without fear of consequences. On the other hand, users of drugs like heroin are still stigmatized and often driven underground.

The Hypocrisy of Drugs Vs. Alcohol

Experts believe that considering alcohol as an entirely separate entity from any other drug doesn’t really make sense – unless from a legal standpoint. After all, drug and alcohol abuse commonly occur together. And in teenagers, first experimentation with a substance is often alcohol.

Scientifically, there’s no reason why alcohol should be treated differently than any other psychoactive substance. And the risks are the same as nearly any other drug – sometimes worse. For example, people don’t die from opiate withdrawals – but you can actually die from alcohol withdrawal. In addition, the wealth of alcohol-related diseases and fatalities when compared to say, marijuana, reveals a difference so stark that even conservatives are starting to see the irony.

For example, consider the how the National institute of Health has two separate agencies: the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. But like I said, there are legal issues here. You’ve got the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and then you have the Drug Enforcement Agency. They function very differently in relation to their substances of focus.

Indeed, tobacco is considered by some to the worst drug, and it may kill more people per year than alcohol  And guess what? That’s still legal, too.

And as many times as we’ve heard the phrase “war on drugs” over the few decades, when was the last time you heard about the “war on alcohol”. I guess that would probably pre-date prohibition. That’s be my guess, anyway.

Commentary

For many people, this may seem like common sense. And yet, the powers-that-be in the U.S. don’t treat the problem for what it is – a problem that this survey clearly shows is on almost everyone’s mind.

So why is nothing being done? President Obama has asked for over $1 billion for opiate addiction, but where is all the funding for alcohol education, treatment, and prevention?

Everyone knows that alcohol abuse is a huge problem in this country, and in many countries worldwide. And yet, it’s marginalized when compared to drug abuse. In reality, it kills more people, damages more lives, and contributes to more diseases than any other psychoactive substance in the world. It really is the worst drug. Let’s start calling it that…

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

Related: Alcohol Awareness: How to Recognize if you Have a Problem

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