The use or abuse and addiction to alcohol is nothing new. People have been abusing alcohol for nine millennia, starting in remote Chinese provinces. In the beginning, brewing beer or making wine created a product that was largely free from microorganisms that could cause illness and could be stored in wood or clay containers for months or years. Thus sailors would have a ration of rum on board their ships, both for hydration and as a stimulant.
During the Middle Ages, beer was drunk by the whole family, with alcoholic content being weakest for the children and strongest for adult males.
Today, laws around the world vary. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Kuwait and other countries in the Middle East and Asia, no alcohol may be sold. Legal alcohol purchasing or drinking ages vary between 18 and 21 around the world, with a few exceptions.
Across the U.S., the federally set blood alcohol concentration permitted for driving is below .08%. For an underage person, the permitted concentration is zero percent.
Changes in Alcohol Advertising and Use
Alcohol has always been part of cultural events in countries all around the world. But in today’s civilization, it is more likely to be marketing that buoys alcohol sales. In England, a single advertising campaign increased the sales of hard cider, a previously unpopular drink, 225% in a single year. One survey of 1,000 British children aged 15 an under showed that nearly half of them already owned alcohol-branded merchandise.
In the U.S., Alcohol Advertising also penetrates deeply into the lives of youth. The Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth reported that youth aged 12 to 20 who watched television saw an average of 317 alcoholic product ads per year, or nearly one per day. Despite a commitment by alcohol manufacturers to withhold their advertising from programming that had a young audience of greater than 30 percent, youth exposure to alcohol ads doubled after this agreement was made. Greatest exposure to alcohol ads occurred on Comedy Central, BET, E!, FX and Spike.
By 2009, youth in the U.S. began drinking at the average age of 14.22 years, a slight increase over the average age of a decade before. The good news is that overall, drinking among young people has been on a gentle decline for the last several years. However, abuse of prescription drugs and marijuana have been on the increase, possibly signaling a shift in, rather than a decrease in, substance abuse.
Globally, Alcohol Kills Millions
The World Health Organization monitors the deaths, injuries and illnesses that are related to alcohol consumption and issues their findings each year in the Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. In the 2011 report, the WHO stated that more than two million people per year were losing their lives due to direct intoxication, or alcohol-related illness or injury.
As long as there has been alcohol, there has been abuse, addiction, injury and death as potential results. The person who cannot control his or her drinking is at risk of losing everything. If he can’t stop drinking when he wants to, he needs alcohol rehabilitation to eliminate the cravings for the substance.
Methods vary greatly in how this rehabilitation is done. Some treatment centers claim there is a secondary mental illness that needs treatment and use drugs like antidepressants or benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs). Perhaps because they have no way to provide relief from the cravings for alcohol, some centers prescribe a drug like Antabuse (disulfiram) to help the addicted person. If that person drinks after taking this medication, it is supposed to make him or her feel very ill. The use of Antabuse has been found to result in poor compliance with the treatment program.
One newer drug that has been used in the U.S. since 2004 is Campral but it is associated with severe side effects like irregular heartbeat, low or high blood pressure, insomnia and impotence.
The Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program has in its 49-year history provided the opportunity for lasting sobriety for tens of thousands of people addicted to alcohol. In the Narconon program, no substitute drugs are needed or used to reduce cravings. The individual goes through a closely monitored withdrawal process, followed by a sauna-based detoxification program that flushes out the toxins from past drug and alcohol abuse. The combination of sauna, nutritional supplements and moderate daily exercises activates the body’s own ability to detoxify itself from stored residues. The result is a greater ability to think clearly. Most people completing this step also say that their cravings are either greatly reduced or gone.
Learn how the Narconon program can mean lasting sobriety for someone you care about.
- Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011