Substance Abuse Seeps Into Every Societal Crevice
Substance abuse is a familiar villain on the landscape of American injury law. It is impossible to grasp the role which misuse of alcohol and drugs plays in causing life-altering bodily damages.
A person beset with substance abuse is a compulsive user of drugs or alcohol, even in the face of negative consequences. Too often, the focus is on the frequency or the amount of alcohol and drug consumption. However, this is a poor measurement because of the unique ways that chemicals are metabolized by individuals. The better index is the impact that alcohol or drugs have on the user, and those surrounding them.
High Percentage of Alcoholic Lawyers in the US
The rate of lawyers suffering from a drinking problem in the United States has been estimated at 15% to 18%. That is a staggeringly high number. This is especially true when one considers that national statistics bear out that 7$ to 10% of the population is alcoholic.
Many theories have been offered as to why lawyers have such a high rate of drinking pathology. Some claim it is the inherently adversarial nature of the profession. They may have a point. But a large number of alcohol addiction experts subscribe to the notion that the disease involves a cellular breakdown. Their biological model is grounded in genetics and points to the intergenerational reality that alcoholism often shows up in family lines.
Whether this discounts environmental influences or not is an open question. Nature and nurture variables in the same equation are often impossible to resolve, because they are so closely related and even intertwined.
Alcohol and Drugs and Civil Law Compensation
The media overwhelmingly focuses on alcohol and drugs within the criminal sphere of American jurisprudence. This is understandable, since arrests are widely reported and the public has a strong interest in knowing these facts. It has been reported that nearly 50% of all crime is directly or indirectly the result of drug abuse.
Less newsworthy are all those injuries caused by substance abuse which is not overtly criminal. Many times the person causing a car wreck is below the Ohio blood alcohol standard, or the drugs in their blood stream elude detection. Four million Americans are addicted to prescription drugs, and nearly 15 million Americans use illicit drugs. Despite those high numbers, often the police are not able to pinpoint evidence sufficiently to effect an arrest.
Those who work to achieve financial compensation for accident victims know that too often the offending party was under the influence.
Alcohol is More Dangerous Than Any Other Drug
A study has just been released. It establishes what I have felt true for many decades: alcohol is the most dangerous drug. More dangerous that illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.
As to addictive powers heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth were deemed most lethal to individuals. But when considering the larger social effects, alcohol is the deadliest, outranking all other substances.
Alcohol is devastating because it is so widely available and is legal. However lethal consequences are extremely widespread, to both drinkers and those around them. There is no substance on earth which has destroyed more marriages, careers and families than alcohol. Although many don’t even think of alcohol as a drug, it impacts society the most.
Overall the research bears out that drugs that are legal cause at least as much damage, if not more damage, than drugs that are illicit.
The Dangers of “Pharming”
“Pharming” is increasingly becoming a social problem. This is the practice of using prescription and over-the-counter medicines to get high. This form of drug abuse is a growing trend among teenagers.
Teens often regard pharming as relatively harmless. This illusion is based on the drugs coming from the neighborhood pharmacy rather than from the street. The perception of harmlessness, coupled with ease of availability, makes pharming dangerous.
Increasingly, vehicle collisions are the result of pharming.
Age of First Drink and Later Alcoholism
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has shown a correlation between the age of first consumption and later alcohol dependence. A child of 13 years who drinks alcohol has a 47% chance of becoming dependent upon alcohol in his or her life.
If the age of initial exposure is 16 years, then the chance of dependence drops to 30%. And if the person does not start drinking until they are 21, the odds drop to 10%.
Length of Time to Become An Alcoholic
The Northeast Community Challenge Coalition states that ordinarily it takes 10-15 years for an adult to become alcoholic.
However youth become alcohol dependent in 6 months to 3 years.
And the majority of alcoholics who begin drinking between the ages of 13-16 will progress to other drugs.