Sunday, November 18, 2018

Worse than opioids: Alcohol deaths soar among the middle aged, women

 Alcohol kills more people each year than overdoses through cancer, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and suicide, among other ways. 

By Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY

As opioid overdoses, which kill about 72,000 people a year, grabbed America's attention, the slower moving epidemic of alcohol accelerated, especially in Southern states and the nation's capital. About 88,000 people die each year from alcohol.

Making matters worse, alcoholism is trickier to treat – and criticize – than opioid addiction.

"Culturally, we’ve made it acceptable to drink but not to go out and shoot up heroin," Miller says. "A lot of people will read this and say 'What's the problem?' "

It might be a more socially acceptable addiction, but alcoholism is at least three times costlier to treat than opioid addiction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And it's a far more complicated midlife crisis to address.

The proven approaches – taxes on alcohol and limits on where and when alcohol is sold – are often rejected because the liquor industry has considerable clout with policymakers.  Read more >>