Over half of all adults in the United States have had an alcoholic drink over the past month. Over one quarter have reported binge drinking in the last 30 days. In other words, we are a nation that likes to drink alcohol.
Drinking in moderation poses little risks to our health, but excessive consumption can cause several complications, including heart disease, liver damage and cancer. Reducing excessive alcohol consumption is the objective of Alcohol Awareness Month, which celebrates its 30th year in 2017.
Alcohol abuse poses a threat to the drinker, but it also places a burden on families, loved ones and communities. For example, around one in ten children in the United States have a parent who struggles with alcohol abuse. Even those of us who don’t drink regularly or don’t have a loved one with an alcohol problem also face consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, most notably in the form of drunk driving.
Drunk Driving in the United States
Alcohol-related driving fatalities comprise nearly one-third of all vehicle fatalities every year in the United States. That percentage has been reduced over the past several years, thanks to campaigns like those launched by MADD and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the latter of which founded Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987 “to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment and recovery,” according the group’s website.
But alcohol use continues to threaten the lives of all motorists and pedestrians. In Texas, 960 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes in 2015, an average of 2.6 per day. To combat alcoholism in our state, we need to develop a better understanding of the disease and how it affects people.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease and shouldn’t be viewed as a moral failing. People often turn to alcohol because of the problems they face in their lives. Research also suggests that some people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism. If the condition isn’t addressed, it is progressive, meaning that it could get worse the longer someone goes without seeking help.
Experts define excessive alcohol consumptions as 8 or more drinks a week for a woman and 15 or more drinks a week for a man. By that definition, studies suggest that around one-third of American adults drink excessively. Practicing moderation is the key to keeping alcoholism at bay for some drinkers, while completely abstaining might be the only option for others.
If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol abuse, you should discuss the problem and make plans to seek help. Most importantly, never drive after drinking or let someone else drive after drinking. While the fight against alcoholism can be a complex one, there is one thing we can all do to reduce impaired driving on our roads – never let a friend drink and drive.
If you have questions about drunk driving accidents or if you have been injured by a drunk driver, contact Guajardo & Marks to learn more about your legal options.