When you think of substance use in Colorado, you might think of harder drugs such as heroin, cocaine and meth. These drugs are illegal and powerful, and they get a lot of focus in the press. However, the most commonly misused substance in Colorado is legal; it is alcohol. Alcohol use disorder continues to be a serious issue in the state.
Alcohol Misuse in Colorado
According to the Daily Camera, alcohol abuse “eclipses all other substances, including opioids,” in terms of prevalence.” This means that Colorado alcohol addiction is still a problem, and alcohol is one of the state’s most damaging addictive substances.
According to the federal government, Colorado is the only state that had problems with all four major addictive substances. These are marijuana, alcohol, cocaine and opioids. One-third of Colorado residents in some counties are engaging in unsafe levels of drinking.
Experts agree that addiction is the problem, no matter what the substance might be. Whether it is an illegal dose of heroin or the alcohol that you pick up at the corner store, either of these substances can lead to troubles with addiction and can impact your life and your family’s life for many years to come.
Alcohol use during pregnancy can have impacts on the baby, leading to future challenges from fetal alcohol effects or syndrome, and about seven percent of the women who admit themselves into drug and alcohol treatment programs are pregnant. Alcohol use can lead you to have poor health, lose jobs and lose relationships with friends and family.
Understanding the Statistics
Alcohol misuse does not have the alarming overdose statistics that the use of drugs like fentanyl might have, but it still leads to death, particularly over time. According to the Daily Camera, “every day in Colorado, there are five alcohol-attributable deaths.” While alcohol overdose does happen and some of these deaths are due to accidents as well, it is the serious problems that accumulate over time that are an even larger issue with alcohol misuse. These include high blood pressure, liver and heart diseases, stroke, cancers, and mental health issues such as depression. The city of Denver is a particularly problematic hub for alcohol misuse; it has the highest rate of alcohol consumption in the country.
The cost to society is also large. In 2010, a study estimated that substance misuse of alcohol cost $5 billion in the state of Colorado. This is counted in health care costs, fewer and less efficient work days, and the services that people need to use in case of an accident or another emergency. This cost is $100,000 per state resident. While alcohol use might seem like a moderate form of substance misuse compared to many others, it is a socially and financially costly problem.
Unfortunately, 85 percent of those who need treatment in Colorado will not get the treatment that they need. There is not enough access to treatment for substance use disorder, and this includes access to treatment for alcohol misuse.
Why Is Alcohol Misuse So Prevalent?
Alcohol is a socially acceptable drug. Yet more than half of admissions to treatment centers are for alcohol misuse. Why is this the case? In part, it is connected to the fact that alcohol is legal and culturally accepted. Having a drink or two after work is not generally frowned upon, while using heroin daily could gain severe social judgment. In fact, people are encouraged to drink when they are out with friends, and it is part of the social culture.
Through social messaging about drinking to relax, people are encouraged to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. While many people will not misuse alcohol, some people who are predisposed to addiction or who have mental health issues can easily turn from a drink every few days to a few drinks every day. With alcohol, the path to misuse is socially acceptable, and this makes it all the more challenging to admit that you have a problem.
It can also be easier to turn to alcohol again after you have become sober. If your group of friends likes to go out for a drink, then it is hard to refuse to go. Alcohol is served at parties and at family celebrations, and people may not even realize that this is a struggle for you.
Where to Go For Help
What are your options for Colorado alcohol rehab? When you are looking for help moving into sobriety, you can turn to free programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. However, you might find that you need more help to begin that process. These programs are an excellent complement to treatment programs that start you and support you on the path to sobriety.
A treatment center can:
- Offer customized treatment options so that your care is catered specifically for you.
- Provide medical assistance as you move off alcohol, easing some of the symptoms of withdrawal.
- Support you as you work to manage other mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression or ADHD, which can lead to challenges becoming sober and maintaining your sobriety.
- Provide counseling and group therapies to enable you to change your behavior and see the sources of those behaviors.
- Provide alternative therapies such as art therapy, recreation, or meditation to provide you with new tools to seek calm and find focus in your life.
- Have a wide range of programs of different intensities to provide you with the support you need as you recover.
- Provide aftercare support and programs such as sober housing that allow you to continue to move along in your recovery journey.
At The Recovery Village Palmer Lake, we are here to help you get sober and stay sober. We are here from the beginning of your journey and will support you with aftercare as well. Are you curious about how to begin your journey into sobriety? Contact us today.