Alcohol-Related Homicides More Common Among Troubled Youth

Most people would assume that a life of drug dealing and gang banging puts a person directly in the path of death. It is not a strange assumption, as the news and newspapers are constantly filled with articles stating another person has died in a drug-related homicide. While it is true that the gang lifestyle and drug dealing are dangerous and produce many unnecessary fatalities, there is one activity that is more deadly by comparison – alcohol abuse.

A new study led by Professor Linda Teplin of Northwestern University shows that there are more homicides associated with alcohol abuse than those involving dealing drugs or being involved in a gang. Experts believe that this may be because younger people tend to drink alcohol put themselves in situations that can easily become volatile.

Researchers decided to look into this by examining the deaths of 1,829 younger people who were formerly in a youth detention center. Of the main factors associated with these premature deaths, those diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder had that highest percentage – more so than the other factors that people would typically thing are more life-threatening.

“People who drink are often in situations where tempers flare. Bad things can happen: barroom brawls, drinking on the front steps on a hot summer night,” explained Teplin.

The professor also points out that many children who abuse alcohol also have signs of other problems in their lives. Personality disorders, anger issues, depression and toxic home environments all play a major factor in a child’s use of alcohol. Being aware of the problems that precede alcohol abuse seems to be an important factor in preventing more alcohol-related deaths. Spotting warning signs and triggers early on in a child’s life may prevent them from being involved in an alcohol-related homicide.

Revisiting Alcohol’s Supposed Benefits

Updated research on the potential benefits of consuming a small amount of alcohol shows that it may not be all that healthy. After pouring over ten years’ worth of information, scientists believe they have located the original study’s mistakes and how these mistakes may have led to an increased amount of people consuming alcohol, buying into the notion that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart.

Researchers today say that the study promoting wine for heat health was poorly ran and made some glaring errors. The first error was that they combined people who have never consumed alcohol in the same group as people who used to be drinkers. Former alcoholics are likely to have health problems and experience depression. So, when researchers compared the health of people who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol to a group of people that consisted, in part, of former alcoholics they mistakenly came to the conclusion that those who drank in moderation were healthier.

“Given the harms attributed to alcohol use, it is not surprising that reports showing possible mortality benefits for low level users attracted enthusiasm among consumers, the media the alcohol industry. In health as elsewhere, if something looks too good to be true, it should be treated with great caution,” explained Craig Knott, lead author and researcher of the new meta study.

Ensuring that the public has the right information is vital. People who are inclined to drink too much are likely to use any excuse to justify this behavior. If a study comes out stating that some alcohol is healthy for a person that is just the reason someone may need to continue drinking and making poor decisions. Additionally, the perception that alcohol is healthy goes against what most people believe in the first place.

Even Light Alcohol Consumption Not a Health Benefit

Several years ago a study came out stating that alcohol was good for your health. The studies showed that drinking in moderation could be good for your heart. However, a new study was conducted showing that this is not true. Alcohol is not good for your health. According to the new study, one drink a day that contains alcohol could increase the risk of heart disease.

The study looked at information taken from 260,000 people. The outcome of the study was that even those that do not consume much alcohol could cut their risk for heart disease by cutting down on the amount of alcohol they drink. “The best thing to do is to reduce consumption to reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease” said Juan Casas, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and also the lead author of the study. Casas hopes that the study will influence policy makers now that they know that alcohol does not carry any health benefits. He explained that when people thought that there might be some healthy components to drinking in moderation it was hard to decide how much was too much. Now that the results are in and alcohol only does harm to people, policy makers can adjust laws accordingly.

The study looked at people that carried a variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B gene. This gene causes unpleasant side effects when drinking; therefore these people tend to drink less. When researchers studied these people they found that they have a 10% lower risk of coronary heart disease, they have lower blood pressure and a lower body mass index.

Casas explained that previous studies, stating that consuming alcohol in moderate amounts was healthy for one’s heart, did not take into effect the lifestyle of those who didn’t consume alcohol. Casas points out that those who do not drink, or rarely drink, are more likely to participate in physical activity and lead generally healthier lives. Casas also said that the previous studies included those individuals who didn’t drink because of health reasons. That would falsely indicate that people who do not drink are unhealthy.

Lawmakers are currently reviewing the guidelines on how much to drink, they are taking this study into account.