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Number One, International Killer: Alcohol

Alcohol contributes to 2.5 million deaths worldwide a year, making it the number one international killer for 2011, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  There is also a growing concern over the number of alcohol-related injuries such as car accidents, burns, falls and poisonings, as well as other social and financial tolls such violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism.

“Substance abuse disorders profoundly affect our society,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In economic terms, alcohol abuse disorders costs the U.S. approximately half a trillion dollars a year. But as Dr. Volkow said, “[Alcohol abuse] is much more insidious, eroding the foundation of human relationships and the established social contract.” (Medical News Today)

A new federal study in the U.S. found that parents are giving their children alcoholic beverages at a much higher rate than most people realize. According to a report from SAMHSA, in the past month alone 200,000 kids were given alcohol by a parent or other adult family member. This is especially dangerous with studies confirming that drinking as a teenager is a potential gateway to alcohol problems in adulthood. In fact, studies show that people who begin drinking before the age of fifteen are six times more likely than those who start at twenty-one to develop an alcohol problem. Parents need to be aware that providing alcohol to children can expose them to an increased risk for alcohol abuse.

The key finding in a recent study regarding the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI), which is widely used to assess adolescent drinking-related problems, found that the more drinking-related problems experienced by an adolescent at the age of eighteen, the greater the likelihood of alcoholism being diagnosed at the age of twenty-five.

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