From the Editor’s desk……
We all know that drug use can be fatal.
Many times the finger is pointed at drug addicts with a sense of judgement. But what about the socially acceptable mood changing drug called alcohol?
Particularly, at this time of year, alcohol is very much a part of the menus for festivities for social drinkers. But what about the impact of alcohol on addicts or alcohol dependent people and the domino effect on the community?
According to the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine one in eight patients at peak times in Australian and New Zealand hospitals are there because of alcohol. Over the whole week the number was one in 12. In essence, based on the volume of alcohol-affected patients, this means that alcohol affected people are causing much more disruption than those on the drug ice. Hospital staff and other patients report that some alcoholic behaviour makes staff and other people feel unsafe.
Interestingly, researchers have found that there is a gene mutation linked to impulsive behaviour with alcohol.
The findings were released at the organisation’s annual conference in Brisbane. “We found the alcohol-affected were more likely to have the immediate life-threatening problems,” according to Associate Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton. Previous research had estimated that overall for one case of harm caused by ice, she said, there would be 12 alcohol-related cases. It was reported that one drunk person could disrupt an entire department.
So where does that leave the community? Limiting alcohol availability is likely to help but what about personal responsibility to deal with our own problems? Our guilt tells us we are causing problems for other people like our family, friends, loved ones, co-workers, the community at large. Sometimes the guilt and shame can drive us further into a spiral of crises. Even though we may not feel this way, alcoholics and drug dependent people do have options; it is a condition that can be appropriately treated.
Research has shown that long term residential programs with appropriate aftercare structures in place give the best chance of sustaining long term abstinence.
With the festive season upon us with large quantities of alcohol readily available at functions, it is a time to be mindful that for some of us one drink is too many, and a hundred isn’t enough…
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