Fighting Alcoholism in America: Improving Treatment and Preventing Addiction
Excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths in the United States each year or 261 people killed everyday and take 2.8 million years of potential life years lost or 29 years per person lost on average according to the CDC. It is currently the leading cause of preventable death in the United states and cost the nation $249 billion just in 2010. While some may attribute incidental deaths such as driving under the influence, more than half of alcohol-attributable death are due to health effects from drinking excessively over time such as various types of cancer, liver disease, and heart disease. With that said, short-term health effects from consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time accounted for most of the years of potential life lost due to poisonings (often involving another substance), suicide, and motor vehicle crashes. While the causes of alcoholism are unclear there are certain risk factors such as having a family history of alcoholism, peer pressure, certain mental health issues, and high levels of pressure have been associated alcohol use disorders. Unsurprisingly these factors have been particularly high amid the pandemic that has ravaged the country with social isolation, high unemployment, and host of other sources of other immeasurable stresses that can make fighting addiction that much harder and studies have shown that alcohol use is on the rise in response to the pandemic.
Seeking treatment has also become that much harder as the healthcare industry is overwhelmed and many components of seeking treatment and help are undermined by the need to stay socially distant. According to one study 29% of Americans will experience alcohol use disorder at some point in their life, yet only one in five of these people will ever receive treatment. People dealing with addiction often experience stigma for seeking treatment or may have internalized attitudes that they can handle it on their own. Many may find unhealthy drinking habits as acceptable because of peer pressure or cultural norms. All of these factors have created a call to action to address this health crisis.
This timely symposium offers an opportunity for those working in addiction, healthcare, treatment and rehabilitation, law enforcement and community outreach to discuss strategies to improve treatment services, recovery support and prevention. Participants will discuss best practices for enhancing collaboration between stakeholders and consider ways to overcome challenges. Delegates will review recent policy developments and identify priorities for the future.
- Gain insights from existing treatment services and considering how these can be improved through collaboration and innovation
- Explore the relationship between alcohol addiction and mental health issues – ensuring all substance use disorder providers are able to offer targeted and sustained support
- Understand the role of community support groups can offer in a socially distant world and how to adapt treatment
- Discuss how to improve multi sector and organizational collaboration to improve outreach to those experiencing addiction
- Debate the importance of education and the role of public health professionals play in promoting a healthy views on alcohol consumption
- Learn strategies to lower barriers to seeking treatment such as fighting stigma and improving outreach
- Consider ways to prevent alcoholism among youth and provide support to those who need it
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