To the editor — Why does the YHR regularly promote the most dangerous drug, alcohol? (See “Rethinking Tequila”, 7-17-21, Page 1B, etc.) Research published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet scored various addictive drugs, based on 16 different harms caused; alcohol was found to be the most dangerous (more harm caused than heroin, crack, meth, cocaine, tobacco and LSD — Lancet, Nov. 2010, “Drug Harms.”)
Alcohol is an addictive, psychoactive drug that damages brain cells; long-term use increases the risk of multiple cancers, liver failure and diabetes. Thirty-three percent of all arrests in the U.S. involve alcohol, as well as 66% of all intimate partner violence (Abnormal Psychology Journal, June 2013). Among ages 15-49, alcohol use is “the most common risk factor for death and disability” (Lancet, Sept. 2018). 95,000 people die each year in the U.S. from alcohol-related causes. Sadly, teen drinking is influenced by adult behavior and media; about 25% of all 14- and 15-year-olds are involved in underage alcohol use, with dangerous results, including accident deaths and impaired brain development (NIH/NIAA website).
Why can’t we benefit our community by promoting the enjoyment of a drug-free lifestyle in the Yakima Valley?
HARRY J. SHARLEY, M.P.H., MA.