Whichever side of the fence you’re on, we can all agree that there is undoubtedly a stigma attached to the person who finds him or herself abusing alcohol or drugs. We all do it; the homeless person sitting outside a 7-11 asking for change, the man whose teeth have decayed past the point of no return, or even the guy behind us at the supermarket whose only purchase is a 500 ml bottle of whiskey. In our last post, we talked about how a ridiculously high number of Americans drink too much—even if they aren’t alcoholics. A phenomena that can be likened to any other culprit of mass effecting (fast food comes to mind), what we’ve come to understand is that the problem is rooted in a combination of overexposure, availability, and stigmatism.
A recent editorial in the Journal of Psychopharmacology published on Medical News Today outlines some ways in which individual and government intervention (we’ll only be going over the latter) can reduce the personal and public costs of senseless drinking:
Scientist and co-author David Nutt, Neuropsychopharmacologist from Imperial College London and Vice President of the European Brain Council, adds:
” The combination of individual and societal approaches would likely have major beneficial impact on health effect and social harms due to alcohol, and reduce alcohol-attributable mortality especially in younger ages. The proposed approach would also reduce the stigma currently associated with alcohol use disorders and thus enable earlier and more interventions.”
What do you think? Could these approaches help? Is stigmatism holding people back who might otherwise seek out help from a family member or a treatment facility?