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The Blind Spot: Why Alcohol Isn't Considered a Drug


If someone says "drug use," what comes to mind? Here's a guess: a lot of things might pop into your head, but alcohol isn't one of them. ...but why is that? Alcohol is just as much an intoxicating chemical as anything we normally consider a recreational "drug." Why have we collectively opted to carve it out and put it into its own separate (and socially accepted, if not outright celebrated) category? For my latest article on Psychology Today, I expand on an idea from a recent LinkedIn post: that alcohol use has been so normalized in the United States that we've lost sight of the true public health cost of making it ubiquitous in so many facets of our social life. If 178,000 people in the US can be dying each year from alcohol but using the term "alcohol epidemic" would still strike most people as odd, how bad does it have to get before we take our collective alcohol problem seriously?

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