Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug available. Many people don’t know alcohol is a drug because it is legal and socially accepted. However, it works like many other drugs. Alcohol is emotionally and physically addictive. Alcohol is a type of drug called a depressant. This means that it slows our body down and makes us think, act, and respond much slower.
Health Risks of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse has many negative effects on the human body. Alcohol use causes half of all liver disease deaths. Alcohol is also related to cancer of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast. Alcoholism is also a cause of weight gain. The extra calories contained in beer and other forms of alcohol can make someone gain excessive amounts of weight. Alcohol use is also related to heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, and other dangerous diseases. Some research has shown that small amounts of alcohol (less than one drink per day usually) might have some health benefits. However, new research is showing that this might not be true.
Many people in the U.S. use and abuse alcohol. A little over half of all adults say they used alcohol in the last month. Around 6% of adults have an alcohol abuse disorder. About 10% of kids live with a parent with alcoholism. In the U.S. almost 90,000 people a year die from alcohol-related deaths. Almost 10,000 people die due to drunk drivers. Even those who don't drink are at risk of being in an dangerous car crash with someone who has been drinking. Two-thirds of all people will be involved in an accident with a drunk driver during their lives. This risk is higher if you are often in a vehicle with someone, such as a parent or family member, who has problems with alcoholism. If you ever think someone has been drinking, do not get into a car that they are driving.
More info from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Statistics on drunk driving from Mothers Against Drunk Driving