USA: Alcohol’s Harm to Others Affects Millions
A new study reports, in America, the harms of alcohol impact 1 in 5 adults other than the alcohol user.
The study found that in 2015, an estimated 53 million adults – or nearly 1 in 5 – said they had experienced at least one harm attributable to someone else’s alcohol use in the past year. That harm ranged from property damage to physical injury.
The study involved analyzing data on 8,750 adults who answered survey questions from two databases: the 2015 National Alcohol’s Harm to Others Survey and the 2015 National Alcohol Survey.
The different types of harm included harassment, feeling threatened or afraid, having belongings ruined, having property vandalized, being pushed, hit or assaulted, being physically harmed, being in a traffic accident, being a passenger in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver, having family or marital problems, and having financial trouble.
Everyone is consumed by the opioid crisis and there is a tendency to ignore the huge problems we have with alcohol,” said Dr. Antoine Douaihy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as per Physician’s Weekly.
In the United States, there’s a huge need to reduce that burden. And while it’s important to address the opioid crisis, let’s not forget about the burden of alcohol.”
- 21% of women and 23% of men reported experiencing at least one of the types of harms in the past year.
- Even though men use alcohol more both men and women experience similar levels of harm depicting the gender inequality.
- The most prevalent type of harm for both men and women was harassment, reported by 16% respondents.
- For women, the most prevalent types of harm, after harassment are family and marital problems or financial problems due to someone else’s alcohol use and a close third runner-up was driving-related harms.
- For men, after harassment, the driving-related harms were the most common, followed by property damage and vandalism.
- Young adults between 18 to 25 were at a higher risk to experience a broader range of issues from other people’s alcohol use.
- Women were more likely to report harm caused by a spouse or family member.
- Men were more likely to report issues that were caused by a stranger.
- Being an alcohol user put people at more risk of harm from others due to alcohol than being an abstainer.
The study authors suggest implementing alcohol control policies would be the best course of action in reducing not only alcohol consumption but alcohol harm to others as well.
Control policies, such as alcohol pricing, taxation, reduced availability, and restricting advertising, may be the most effective ways to reduce not only alcohol consumption but also alcohol’s harm to persons other than the [alcohol user],” said Madhabika B. Nayak, lead researcher of the study, as per EurekaAlert.