Illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, and ice are inherently dangerous. They wreak havoc on the brain, heart, liver, and other vital organs in the body. They alter how a person looks or acts. They destroy lives. For that very reason, governments have declared them illegal, and rightly so. Severe punishments await those caught violating laws related to these substances.
Alcohol also happens to cause liver damage, heart problems, and strokes, among other things. Drunk people tend to be uninhibited, and in many cases, violent. Families have been torn apart by alcoholism, and countless people have met their deaths because drivers had one too many drinks. Just like illicit drugs, alcohol destroys lives. And the funny thing is they can be bought legally and quite easily as long as you’re of a certain age. Now alcoholism is becoming an epidemic, and numerous studies and surveys are proving it.
Alcohol kills 15 Australians every day
In Australia, alcohol is widely regarded as its most socially accepted drug. Drinking alcohol is essentially a big part of Australian culture, with every single social gathering taken as an opportunity to imbibe the substance, often to excess. Now Australians are paying for it, if the recently released Alcohol’s Burden of Disease in Australia report is any indication.
According to the report, which was funded by VicHealth and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), 15 Australians die alcohol-related deaths every day. Another 430 Australians are hospitalised daily to for treatment for injuries or illnesses caused by alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is a carcinogen
In its latest Cancer Report, the World Health Organisation also highlighted the effects of alcohol consumption. The report states that in 2012, the number of people who died from cancer worldwide is pegged 8.2 million, and 3.7 million of those deaths could have been prevented by limiting alcohol consumption and other lifestyle changes. The WHO also lists alcohol as a carcinogen, and it’s responsible for approximately 5 per cent of all causes of cancer.
Alcohol destroys families
The damage that alcohol brings isn’t limited to the physical health of those who abuse it. The Salvation Army once commissioned a study that paints a rather worrisome picture of how alcohol use and abuse is affecting families. The study reveals that 4.2 million people know of families where they think children are not being given proper care because of alcohol use and abuse. Even more disturbing is the finding that 2.9 million Australians know families where the safety of children is in jeopardy because someone in the family is abusing alcohol.
Considering that alcohol is also a factor in almost half of all domestic homicides and countless accidents on the road or in the workplace, it is simply unsettling to see that the Australian public in general seem to be oblivious to the fact that alcohol destroys lives. Perhaps a more vigorous campaign from all sectors of society about the dangers of alcohol use and abuse should raise awareness to a level that would make them think about cutting back on or eliminating alcohol consumption. Employers could develop or strict implement a workplace alcohol policy. However, if indifference, not ignorance, is the attitude taken by many Australians towards alcohol and its dangers, we can only expect the alcohol situation in the country to get worse in the future.