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April is Alcohol Awareness Month. With the nation so focused on the staggering opioid epidemic, it’s easy to forget that alcohol is actually the most commonly used addictive substance, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. Several million more regularly engage in binge drinking. More than 7 million children live in a home with a parent who abuses alcohol.

And the results can be deadly. Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the United States are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption and 88,000 people die of excessive alcohol use every year. That’s a large number, even when compared with approximately 70,200 opioid-related overdoes per year according to the latest data.

There are many reasons for this, such as the prevalence of alcohol and alcohol culture in our society. We use it to celebrate and commiserate. It’s hard not to feel surrounded by it, and like the odd man out when turning down a cocktail.

With 32% of alcoholics being described as high functioning, it can be a hard disease to identify – both in others and ourselves. This April, Spectrum Health Systems joins NCADD in urging everybody to help raise awareness of alcoholism, and take a screening themselves. To do so, visit www.alcoholscreening.org.

To inquire about treatment options for yourself or a loved one, call the New England Recovery Center anytime at 844-228-6372. For inspiration, listen to Michael’s story – he shares his journey to recovery with us below.

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