Imagine if the Media Covered Alcohol Like Other Drugs
The widespread use of a substance called “alcohol” — also known as “booze” — has been linked to erratic and even dangerous behavior, ranging from college students running naked down public streets to brutal attacks and robberies.
Federal officials suggest this drug has already been linked to 88,000 deaths each year across the country, including traffic accidents caused by drug-induced impairment, liver damage caused by excessive consumption, and violent behavior. Experts warn that it can also lead to nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, cognitive deficits among children and teens, and even fetal defects in pregnant women.
Across the US public health officials have linked alcohol to much graver effects, including domestic abuse, sexual assault in college campuses, 40 percent of violent crimes in the US, and more than 4.6 million emergency room visits in 2010.
According to federal data, alcohol is already the second deadliest drug in the country — topped only by another legal substance called “tobacco,” which causes an astonishing 480,000 deaths each year by some estimates and 540,000 by others.
No other drug comes close to the staggering fatalities of these two. Heroin, which has consumed widespread media attention in the past few years, was linked to fewer than 9,000 deaths in 2013, and marijuana — another drug that federal lawmakers, including President Obama, have warned is dangerous — reportedly caused zero overdose deaths in the past few thousand years.