By Bob Corban
Even in the advanced, sophisticated, hi-tech world of the 21st century, humans are still trying to come to grips with one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) addictive substances on earth – alcohol.
As a misused and abused chemical, alcohol is clearly related to and the direct cause of thousands of deaths; even more illness and disability; and untold social/family deterioration each year worldwide.
Education about the problem and the will to take action can make a difference. Some of the following information may help you and those that you love to effectively address alcohol abuse and addiction:
1. Talk to kids when they are in elementary school about alcohol and other dangerous drugs. Don’t let their first lesson about alcohol come from their peers or from irresponsible adult users of alcohol.
2. Get involved in schools and church/community groups to spread the word, especially to younger people, about alcohol use and abuse.
3. If you think that your use of alcohol may become a problem (or is already a problem), talk to someone you trust for guidance on the first steps of addressing the issue. Your physician would be a good one to start with.
4. If someone you love is coping with an alcohol problem, learn how to effectively intervene in his or her life to make a positive difference. Get some direction from a professional or from others who know how to approach this matter in an honest, compassionate and positive way.
5. Read and study about alcohol and other addictive substances. Many free sources of great information are available now, including:
• www.ncadd.org – The National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
• www.samsha.gov – The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
• www.aa.org – Alcoholics Anonymous
Bob Corban is a licensed social worker at North Mississippi Medical Center.