Over the last 40 years, our country has fought a full-on, no-holds-barred battle with drug addiction and the government has done everything in their power to abolish the supply of illegal drugs into the U.S. Strangely enough, the drug that continues to kill more people than anything on the street is completely legal (assuming you’re of age) and has very few restrictions on usage. That’s right, alcohol kills more than drugs. Alcohol kills more than any illegal drug out there today, and unfortunately, many addicts still see it as a safe alternative to illegal drug use.
Alcohol Wasn’t Always Acceptable
In 1920, the U.S. government enacted a nation-wide ban on the sale, importation, production, and transportation of all alcoholic beverages. This led to a massive increase in the illegal sale and production of liquor, also known as “bootlegging”, the prevalence of illegal drinking clubs or “speakeasies” and the uprising of gang violence involving criminal organizations in large cities across the country.
Like with present-day illegal drugs, the prohibition era did little to nothing to lower the demand of liquor in the U.S. and much like today’s current war on drugs, it only led to more governmental money being wasted and increases in drug-related crime. In fact, its illegality is probably why alcohol kills more than drugs across the nation.
How Alcohol Kills More Than Drugs
Well besides the obvious drinking and driving, there are many other problems associated with alcohol abuse and addiction. Due to the wide-spread acceptance of alcohol and binge-drinking in our culture, binge-drinking is often just dismissed as just a means of having fun, but if taken to excess, there is a serious array other problems that arise. Alcohol-induced aggression and violent behavior lead to many injuries, losses in economic productivity and problems at home with the family. It also plays a large role in the committing of crimes. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol plays a role in 40 percent of all violent crimes.
Alcohol-induced health complication, like liver disease, led to over 29,000 deaths in 2013. These large numbers don’t even take into account the number of other ways that alcohol has taken lives. With the inclusion of other causes of death like alcohol-related homicides and drunk driving, this number more than doubles at 88,000.
Even then, the numbers could still understate the other risks that come from alcohol abuse. A study published in the Lancet, took an extensive look at 20 of the most popular drugs in the world and their associated risks in the UK. Several drug experts measured all of the variables involved such as physical damage, death, developing an addiction, mental problems on the drugs’ effect on crime. At the conclusion of their study, they assigned each drug a score. It was concluded that alcohol poses the highest overall risk to society.
Although alcohol damages the body in many ways, sometimes alcohol kills more than drugs because of the psychological impact alcohol has on drinkers.
It’s Still Better Than Doing Drugs Though Right?
I would give this a definite no. If you’re a true addict, then it doesn’t matter the substance. Many people go to rehab for heroin and come out heavy drinkers. It honestly probably happens more than it doesn’t. Just because you’re not putting a needle in your arm, doesn’t mean it’ll make things any better for you. Many people will lay off of the hard stuff for a bit and just drink their faces off, but most will go right back to it and some will develop a heavier affinity for drinking.
The truth of the matter is that while yes, it is legal and yes, it may not look quite as disturbing as smoking crack out of a coke can, but if you do have the “ism” as they call it, then the likelihood of you living a wonderful and amazing life while drinking is slim to none. People who struggle with addiction struggle have difficulty finding moderation in general and switching from one drug to another is basically like changing your seat on the Titanic.
Trust me, the last thing I want to do is be a buzz kill for all of those who are ok with having a few drinks, but the facts stand. There is nothing wrong with throwing back a few as long as you’re not a recovering drug addict, and while “hard drugs” do carry a much stronger stigma, it doesn’t mean that alcohol won’t bring you down just as fast.
Morningside Recovery is among the leaders in alcoholism rehab and offers a variety of treatment options to help those who struggle with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We offer 12 Step recovery based treatment options and alternative treatment options, like SMART Recovery.
Finding out that alcohol kills more that drugs can be a scary realization. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism and are in need of help, please don’t hesitate to call us anytime at 855-631-2135. Our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right treatment option for you.