n April 19, the Union-Bulletin published an article telling about a woman’s battle for safe roads. Because of my own longtime concern about this issue I felt the need to provide more information to U-B readers. 

The U.S government has been keeping track of heavy alcohol use for a number of years.

The National Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse does annual surveys. The following information comes from the 2015 National Survey, which is the most recent that is available. In that year, 26.5 percent of people ages 18 and older engaged in binge drinking. That is one fourth of that age group.

An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. The first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity. In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving accounted for 9,967 deaths

In 2010, alcohol misuse cost the U.S. $249 billion. More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems.

The following paragraph is taken from the National Cancer Institute Alcohol Consumption November 2015 update:

“Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, colon and rectum in men and women and of breast cancer in women. In general, these risks increase after about one daily drink for women and two daily drinks for men. (A drink is defined as 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof


In the June 1970 issue of the Reader’s Digest, a report was given on the work of Melvin H. Knisely, M.D. He and his associates were able to clearly show that even one drink of alcohol could cause sludging of the blood in various tiny arteries-capillaries in the body. This could kill brain cells that could not be replaced.

Alcohol is one of the leading causes of cirrhosis of the liver. Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2013, 47.9 percent were alcohol related. It was the highest (76. 5 percent) among deaths of persons ages 25-34 followed by persons aged 35-44 at 70.0 percent.

According to the 2014 issue of the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, there are greater rates of child abuse when alcohol is readily available. And the September 2017 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs states there are less cases of spouse abuse, specifically homicide, when alcohol availability is restricted.

It should be clear from all that has been presented so far that alcohol can adversely affect the ability to make good judgments. This could affect the choice of a marriage partner or a business deal.

It is highly unlikely that anyone who took his first drink would imagine that someday he could die of an alcohol-related death or that he would murder someone else in a vehicle accident or commit a homicide.

In the world of medicine there are two highly regarded journals. There is the New England Journal of Medicine, printed in Massachusetts, and the Lancet, printed in Great Britain.

The Lancet of Sept. 22, 2018, published an article with this title — “Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.” This was a highly significant study with 513 people listed as collaborators who helped with gathering the information. The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The conclusion at the end was that “the level of consumption that minimizes loss is zero.” In other words the simple answer is no alcohol. I am thankful I was raised in an environment that taught the use of alcohol was a no no. I recommend the same for you. And we will make the roads safer for Nancy McClenny-Walters

Dr. Don Casebolt of College Place is a retired physician whose interest is in preventive medicine. He was medical officer in the U.S. Navy and afterward worked with Monument Valley Adventist Hospital in Utah and Indian Health Services on the Navajo Reservation. He writes a health blog at decasebolt0578.worldpress.com, and can be contacted at 509-522-4251.

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