The 12oz Killer In Your Fridge Right Now…
Celebrating with champagne on New Year’s Eve…
Cracking open a cold one while watching the Super Bowl…
Toasting to the new couple at a wedding…
Alcohol is so ingrained in our culture that it’s almost hard to imagine good times and social occasions without it.
It’s not just for holidays and parties, either.
A drink or two after work… A couple of beers on the weekend… A glass of wine with dinner.
We’re so used to these things it feels strange not to drink sometimes.
I don’t know about you, but for many years, it was just part of life. Up until two years ago, I was a frequent – but casual – user of alcohol.
I thought nothing of sharing a bottle of wine with my wife after a long day of work. It was just what we did. Until I gave it up entirely, alcohol was one of my favorite ways to unwind.
Here’s the thing, though.
With side effects like cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and personal injury, alcohol is a very serious killer.
We just don’t perceive it to be that big of a problem because we assume it won’t happen to us.
Further, when people do have a problem with alcohol, they usually keep it hidden from everyone until it’s so serious they can no longer deny it.
It turns out alcohol isn’t “just a problem for serious alcoholics”, though. It’s a problem for all of us.
My recent guest on London Real really opened my eyes to the true dangers and costs of alcohol.
Professor David Nutt is a neuro-psycho-pharmacologist specialising in the research of drugs that affect addiction, anxiety, and depression.
He’s the deputy head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London alongside Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris who also recently appeared on London Real.
In 2009, David Nutt famously asserted that “ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol.”
People were shocked – how could this be so?
Because of this statement, he was subsequently fired from the government Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.
David’s latest book entitled Drink? The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health explores the science of alcohol, its detrimental effects on health, and the damage this usually-embraced substance causes humankind.
Alcohol is now the #1 cause of death of men aged 16-54 in the U.K. Soon, it will be the #1 killer of women in that age range, too.
It used to be that men were the ones who drank too much, but now, the drinking habits of women are changing rapidly.
In fact, in the U.K, women under age 40 now drink more than men of the same age do. This is serious because they usually have a lower body weight and different rate of metabolism…
So a few drinks has a much bigger effect on women, too. Soon, we’ll see the death toll rise in the female population.
The U.S. isn’t far behind. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “An estimated 88,0005 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”
And This Problem Isn’t Limited To The U.S. And The U.K…
In Russia, half of all men die because of alcohol – and their love affair with alcohol is even more serious. They drink so much they actually poison themselves with the stuff.
The life expectancy of the average Russian has gone down since WWII because of this.
Imagine that – drinking until you die because that’s just the done thing in your culture.
Now, David knows that he can continue to point out health statistics like these until he’s blue in the face.
The truth is just about everyone knows a friend or family member who’s experienced irreparable damage from alcohol.
Despite knowing this stuff, though, most people feel like “it won’t happen to me” or “I don’t drink enough to have these problems…”
They still want to drink because, well, it’s enjoyable. The pleasurable sensation they get from drinking overrides their desire to be rational about the potentially terrible outcomes.
So instead of taking that approach…
David’s Trying Something Different.
He’s educating people about the financial costs of alcohol use, abuse, and addiction.
He hopes that people will understand that he’s not saying “You, specifically, must give up drinking altogether!”
Instead, he’s saying that alcohol abuse is a societal problem, and the costs we all bear because some people drink far too much could be alleviated if we addressed it that way.
If we could influence people to drink less, then we’d all benefit.
Here’s What That Could Look Like
In England alone, they estimate that in 2006, the total social cost of alcohol abuse was￡29 Billion. That’s a staggering cost.
Even worse, in 2010, alcohol misuse cost the United States $249.0 Billion.
With more education, earlier intervention, and closer community support, we could wipe that cost out entirely.
Do you have any idea what other problems could be solved if we didn’t have to spend almost a quarter Trillion on this?
Imagine what schools could do if they had that funding…
Or the other diseases we could develop new treatments for.
It stands to reason that we as a society could do much better if we didn’t have these increasingly costly problems, and while the solution is multifaceted, it’s not impossible.
Hopefully, if we can learn from people like Professor Nutt and help our friends and loved ones to stem their drinking before it goes too far, we can make a slow transition to a healthier, wealthier society.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored