Over 175 million persons aged 12 and older reported using alcohol in the past year, with over 66 million people participating in binge drinking in the past month.
“Alcohol is a very patient drug. It will wait for the alcoholic to pick it up one more time.”
Mercedes McCambridge, 1916-2004, American actress
Alcoholism effects all facets of society from family relationships, to public health and safety, to the health and well-being of the alcoholic. Over 175 million persons aged 12 and older reported using alcohol in the past year, with over 66 million people participating in binge drinking in the past month.1
Sylvia Matthew Burwell, Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says, “The effects of substance use are cumulative and costly for our society, placing burdens on workplaces, the healthcare system, families, states and communities.”1
Alcoholism not only affects the alcoholic and their family, there are also ramifications for anyone they come across including neighbors, co-workers and classmates. Every year alcohol misuse results in increased criminal justice and law enforcement expenses, decreased work productivity and increased health care costs.
Alcoholism affects almost every aspect of society including:
Many alcoholics start to withdraw from society, spending less time participating in activities they once enjoyed and less time interacting with friends and family. They may even develop a new social circle of friends preferring to spend time with other heavy drinkers or they may be solitary drinkers, further isolating themselves from society.
A few of the more dangerous societal effects of alcoholism include increased injuries to self, aggression against others, violent crimes, child abuse, spouse abuse and traffic fatalities. Driving under the influence (DUI) has serious economic and societal impact in the form of motor vehicle crashes that often result in property damage and traffic fatalities.
A recent SAMHSA study reported a drop in the rate of DUI from 2002-2014.2 However; in 2015, there were still over 10,000 traffic fatalities involving drivers under the influence of alcohol. That works out to an average of over 1 DUI fatality every 51 minutes.3
Public education and community outreach goes a long way towards the prevention, recovery, relapse and treatment of alcoholism. Communities can implement plans and programs to help reduce the occurrence of alcohol misuse related incidents.
There are many prevention programs now in place at the local, regional and national level to help reduce to occurrence of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) implemented their Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, in cooperation with local and state law enforcement, to raise awareness about the danger of driving while impaired.4
Communities can advocate for change on a local level for better accessibility to services and to increase the availability of effective recovery resources. Benefits of community outreach include sharing the message of hope with the greater community and getting them involved to help raise awareness about the consequences of alcohol addiction. Integrated services, such as outpatient and intensive outpatient programs, lets treatment centers reach out to and build relationships with people seeking help with drug and alcohol addiction.
There is an ongoing need to prevent, diagnosis and treat alcoholism in communities throughout the country. For example, bringing in educational campaigns to middle and high-school students help raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol misuse at an early age.
There are many ways civic groups and community organizations can develop programs and services to promote long-term recovery to bring about a change in policy to increase education and awareness of alcohol misuse. Health fairs, rallies, festivals, running races, prevention campaigns and other wellness events are all great ways to help raise awareness and limit the social impact of alcohol use.
Actions items that can put into place at the local level include:
Walking and running events that help benefit a local or national recovery organization can be sponsored by a local addiction treatment center. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. The behavioral health facility helps raise much needed funds to sponsor more people in recovery while the local community has an opportunity to show their support while participating in a fun and healthy activity.
The key to implementing a successful program is the willingness to change as the needs of the community can vary on a weekly, monthly, seasonal and yearly basis. It’s important to remain flexible by listening to feedback from program participants and taking steps to refine the plan to meet the ever-changing needs of the community.
Transformations Treatment Center is where you can begin your journey of recovery. Highly trained counselors are ready to help you understand the underlying cause of the addiction. Reach out to us today if you are looking for the best treatment options for drug or alcohol addiction.