The Blade’s Pages of Opinion are to be commended for their yearlong series about the opiate epidemic in Ohio, as well as their support for more and better treatment options (“Opiate epidemic exacts deadly toll across Ohio; Time to find, enact remedies is now,” Feb. 16). But there is the danger of overlooking a more insidious and costly plague: alcoholism.
The monetary damage from alcoholism and alcohol abuse is astounding, but the cost in ruined and damaged lives is incalculable. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found that in 2006, excessive drinking cost the national economy $223.5 billion in lost productivity, health care, legal costs, and vehicle crashes. It’s impossible to quantify the human cost to families, friends, and alcoholics themselves.
Alcohol is a drug, and should be treated as such. The greatest danger is that its use is not only accepted in our society, but also is often celebrated and encouraged.
Narcotic and heroin addiction has grown to a point at which many, if not most, of our citizens are affected, and overdose deaths are becoming rampant. But it would be a disservice to ignore the much larger population of alcohol addicts who die prematurely in far greater numbers. They need and deserve inclusion in any effort to deal with substance addiction and abuse.
I applaud you in your continuing efforts to find answers to the heroin problem, but I also urge you not to ignore the often unseen alcohol addiction right under our noses.