Alcohol abuse is growing

When Ohioans think about the substance abuse epidemic, they are likely thinking about opioids or methamphetamine. But there is another, much more common substance affecting Buckeye State residents — increasingly so as depression and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic have led some to attempt self-medication.

Alcohol abuse — we’re not talking about a drink or two on social occasions, or a glass of wine with dinner, here — is hitting alarming rates in Ohio. In fact, a survey commissioned by AlcoholRehab.com showed 16% of those surveyed in the state considered themselves to be blackout drinkers. The national average is 13%.

“Most of us like to have a few drinks on occasion for many reasons — to loosen up, forget the work week, or perhaps to celebrate something with friends and family. But some people go too far and drink until they ‘blackout.’ It’s an extreme form of drinking that can affect people from all walks of life,” AlcoholRehab said in a news release.

Other findings of the survey included 9% who do not believe drinking until they pass out is detrimental to their health; 5% who deliberately set out to get so drunk they pass out at the end of every night and 16% who said they do not know their limits when it comes to alcohol.

It’s a problem worth talking about just as much as some of the more headline-grabbing challenges faced by our state. Among the solutions must be an end to glorifying binge and blackout drinking, and the idea that it is harmless partying. Meanwhile, better mental health options must be available to those who feel drowning their complex emotions in alcohol is their only hope for relief.

This will call for some serious conversations among families, groups of friends, and maybe even between doctors and patients who have decided it is time for an honest talk. But for the potentially 16% of Ohioans who are struggling with their relationship with alcohol, those difficult, honest conversations might be lifesavers.


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