When people talk about reducing the harm done by alcohol or drugs, there always seems to an assumption that some people are always going to use these substances harmfully. No matter what you do, some people will die in the driver’s seat after leaving the bar or some young people will accidentally overdose on painkillers. That’s why I found it so refreshing that one group is on a mission to reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths to zero.
There are hundreds of social norms shaping the way we think about alcohol and drug use use. But are norms dangerous? Useful? Rational? Are some of them leading to a loss of life? Should we re-evalute the norms we accept without even thinking about them?
After reviewing 58,000 suicide cases from across the US, researchers concluded that alcohol played a definite – and tragic – role in these deaths . While numbers varied by gender and ethnic background, on average, nearly a quarter of those who killed themselves were legally drunk when they did so.
It’s a good guess that pretty much everyone knows that drunk drivers are dangerous to themselves and everyone in their environments. Amazingly, this doesn’t stop tens of thousands of people each year from driving off in their cars when they have had too much to drink.