A person dies every 45 minutes — every day — in an alcohol-related crash.
That information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says 32 people in the United States die every day from alcohol-related crashes. Often, the ones who die aren't the driver, but an innocent bystander or occupant of another car, perhaps a child, young person or grandparent. You don't want that to happen.
[The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Jeff Hansel. Copyright.]
Alcoholism, it seems to me, is like a demon. Those who get behind the wheel bring anger and frustration. But there's also a sadness about the many who live with an addiction over which they have little control, while at the same time the effects of that addiction on their behavior destroys lives.
My friend, a recovering alcoholic, says her actions are her responsibility and I shouldn't blame myself for others' actions. Still, I worry.
One evening I ran into a person I once worked with. He'd recently come from drinking — alone — at a bar and struggled to stand without stumbling. After I talked with a colleague about how to approach him, he was told we were concerned and asked if maybe he needed to seek help.
Soon after, though, he was charged with driving while intoxicated. Thankfully no one was hurt.
The effects of alcohol used in damaging ways are widespread and devastating. I remember a man, red-nosed from chronic alcohol abuse, who purposefully allowed his swim trunks to slip by jumping up and down in the water, thinking that was funny.
His behavior traumatized several very young children (and adults), including me, who were at the beach — and he brought shame to his wife in a very public way.
"If you have alcoholism, you continue to drink even though you know it's causing problems with your relationships, health, work or finances," says MayoClinic.com.
There are many Rochester-area treatment options to help alcoholics fight addiction, including Mayo.
"Mayo maintains a ratio of one staff counselor for every four patients to ensure that patients receive the attention needed to accomplish their goals," the clinic says.
Read more in the print edition of the Post-Bulletin.
For referral call United Way:
• Landline telephones in Minnesota dial 211 and tell the representative you need to be referred to alcohol treatment.
• Cell phones dial 800-543-7709.
Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the Post-Bulletin newspaper, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel