Alcohol & Other Drugs

The consumption and abuse of alcohol and other drugs threatens lives, families, and communities, resulting in immeasurable pain and suffering for those directly and indirectly impacted. According to a Marin Institute Report, The Annual Catastrophe of Alcohol in California, the State’s cost of alcohol use is $38 billion annually. This approximates $1,000 per each California resident. To be more explicit, we spend annually the equivalent to a Northridge-style earthquake on alcohol problems, which are preventable, and require serious and immediate attention.

Alcohol alone causes a disturbing array of health problems from cirrhosis of the liver to lost productivity to sexually transmitted diseases. Not withstanding traffic collisions and the injury that results from it, 26% of deaths are caused by alcohol. This means one person dies every hour due to alcohol use in California. In addition to lost lives, jobs, housing, and broken relationships, astronomical costs are linked to hospital visits and the deployment of governmental services including law enforcement. In high risk contexts, there is a thin line between AOD consumption and abuse. Those living with mental illness as well as those subjected to multiple stressors including peer pressure, social isolation, job insecurity, and poverty are vulnerable and easily succumb to pro-use norms and messages. This is especially the case when AOD are readily available. Drugs in this context are often used to address stress, anguish, and loneliness and not for medical, spiritual, or recreational purposes.