Alcohol causes significant harm to those other than the drinker

From JOURNAL OF STUDIES ON ALCOHOL AND DRUGS: For More Info, Go Here…

Each year, one in five U.S. adults — an estimated 53 million people — experience harm because of someone else’s drinking, according to new research in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Similar to how policymakers have addressed the effects of secondhand smoke over the last two decades, society needs to combat the secondhand effects of drinking, the authors state, calling alcohol’s harm to others “a significant public health issue.”

According to the study — an analysis of U.S. national survey data — some 21% of women and 23% of men, an estimated 53 million adults, experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking in the last 12 months. These harms could be threats or harassment, ruined property or vandalism, physical aggression, harms related to driving, or financial or family problems. The most common harm was threats or harassment, reported by 16% of survey respondents.

The specific types of harm experienced differed by gender. Women were more likely to report financial and family problems, whereas ruined property, vandalism, and physical aggression were more likely to be reported by men.

There is “considerable risk for women from heavy, often male, drinkers in the household and, for men, from drinkers outside their family,” the authors write.

Additional factors, including age and the person’s own drinking, were also important. People younger than age 25 had a higher risk of experiencing harm from someone else’s drinking. Further, almost half of men and women who themselves were heavy drinkers said they had been harmed by someone else’s drinking. Even people who drank but not heavily were at two to three times the risk of harassment, threats, and driving-related harm compared with abstainers. Heavy drinking was defined as drinking five or more drinks at a time for men or four or more drinks for women at least monthly.

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