By Derrick D. Billingslea.
As of 12/30/2016 8:43am, alcohol has taken the lives of 133,575 people according to United States of American Realtime Death Toll and 390,115 for drug use which includes, tobacco, all drug abuse, prescription drug overdose, and smoking in bed. Source www.romans322.com/daily-death-rate-statistcs.php.
2016 should not be looked at as just a tragic year but as a wake call on the epidemic of drugs and alcohol the United States is facing. Who did you lose in 2016, was is your mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, daughter, son, friend(s), or a celebrity? For me it was a close friend that had been in recovery for over 15 years, the damage that had been done to his body from drinking and drug use could not be reversed. Abusing alcohol increases the likelihood of suffering atrial fibrillation, heart attack or congestive heart failure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Here are some of the people we lost in 2016 due to drugs:
Rob Ford/Mayor or Toronto: Cancer after years of alcoholism and drug abuse, including crack cocaine.
Prince Rogers Nelson/Musician, producer, songwriter, and actor: Accidental fentanyl overdose
Amber Rayne/Actress: Accidental Cocaine overdose
Axl Rotten/Wrestler: Heroin overdose
Harris Wittels /Actor: Heroin overdose
Jose Fernandez/Miami Marlins Pitcher: Boat crash, drunk and traces of cocaine
We also lost, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie and George Michael whom both fought to overcome their drug addiction.
“Turning Up” in the club today may have you turned up in a coffin 5 or 10 years from now because many fail to realize that addiction is a DIS-EASE. There is help and addiction can be overcome if the individual wants it. For all the celebrities you saw die in 2016 from drug and alcohol abuse there were just as many that decided to seek help and are in recovery.
Drug abuse and alcoholism has a stigma of being a moral thing, bad choices, weak people, etc. This
is a Lie. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), that drug abuse is a disease, specifically, “Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease…similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease” (NIDA, 2008)
On December 13th 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act in a White House auditorium. The bill is a 6.3 billion dollar bill with allots 1 billion for substance abuse treatment targeting heroin and opioid addiction. President Obama quoted, “This is an epidemic that can touch anybody, blue collar, white collar, college students, retirees, kids, moms, dads,”.
Derrick D. Billingslea is an alcoholism and addictions treatment professional with over two decades in recovery himself and he is the Founder and CEO of HUGS Recovery Centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia.