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Heavy drinking endangers spouses, offspring, and work associates.

Alcohol consumption poses risks not only for the individuals drinking it, but also for those around them, including children, partners, and co-workers, according to addiction experts.

Two men are sitting in the Olympic Park drinking beer.
Two men are sitting in the Olympic Park drinking beer.

Habitual dependence on something, be it a substance or an activity. - Heavy drinking endangers spouses, offspring, and work associates.

A young girl anxious about the potential explosion of her inebriated mother or an employee tasked with covering for a co-worker struggling with alcohol addiction: "The top drug using individuals" doesn't just impact the nine million people with troublesome drinking patterns, but also puts strain on and potentially endangers numerous others in almost every aspect of life, highlighted the German Center for Addiction Matters (DHS) on Thursday ahead of the start of their campaign week. The DHS, the Federal Medical Association (BÄK), the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists, the Society for Psychiatry (DGPPN), and the DG Addiction demanded noticeable price hikes for alcoholic beverages, no more advertising for them, and less accessibility in a joint statement.

Alone, approximately eight million people are affected by the drinking habits and behaviors of a family member - overwhelmingly due to problematic drinking, stated DHS managing director Christina Rummel to the German Press Agency. These individuals are exposed to erratic mood changes, feel powerless and isolated, yet also responsible for upholding the facade and concealing mishaps. Furthermore, the DHS noted that families with alcohol issues experience a disproportionate number of violent attacks. Additionally, more than 2.6 million children and adolescents under 18 years old have parents who misuse alcohol or suffer addiction, which is alarming.

Germany is categorized as a "high-alcohol consumption country," despite consumption level reductions in recent decades, said Rummel. There needs to be an expansion of sensitivity in approach to alcohol - and cognizance of its hazards. Germany is known to be friendly towards alcohol, Rummel mentioned. The DHS oversees the action week - this year with the title "Who is hurt by your drink?". From Saturday, more than 800 events will commence across the country, from Aachen to Zwickau. The initiative is under the direction of the Federal Drug Commissioner Burkhard Blienert. Many organizations, state health agencies, and addiction help networks are participating.

One illustration of action: In the most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the police and Caritas are offering a driving course with simulated alcohol impairment. In Essen, there are management training sessions, in Düsseldorf training for employees supporting alcohol-reliant colleagues, the University of Bielefeld is contributing with information and self-tests, and the Bottrop city library has arranged a book table. Several events are geared towards children and young people as well. Prevention days in schools and companies are planned. Addiction and self-help groups are present.

Who is affected by the drinking of others?

The DHS highlights the workplace issue with posters: "Alcohol impairs thought processes." Mistakes, production interruptions, high rates of sick leave, Rummel commented. Workplace discontent rises when employees must manage absences and gaps. The DHS has prepared speech aids and assets. "There is significant interest from businesses and companies". There has been a notable shift in attitude.

In traffic, thousands of accidents involving personal injuries under the influence of alcohol indirectly impact many, as experts pointed out. Alcohol intake fosters violence and crime. The joint statement from DHS, BAÄK, and other signatories specifies: "The repercussions of alcohol intake are a heavy burden on public health, social unity, and the economy." Excessive alcohol consumption is prevalent in Germany, the conditions are "exceptionally favorable for consumption."

Kids are adversely affected - and the unborn share in the drinking

For the roughly 2.65 million minors with alcoholic parent(s), their upbringing typically plays out as follows, according to Christina Rummel: "They have no structure, there's no stability in their lives, they grow up in an uncertain environment". Consequently, they frequently have to act as caretakers, experience little childhood - and an elevated chance of developing alcohol issues later in life.

Disturbing fact: Around 10,000 children are believed to be born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in Germany each year. Afflicted with FASD, they can be considerably underweight, or face cognitive disabilities. The DHS estimates that approximately 1.5 million people endure FASD.

A significant cost:

Alcohol consumption incurs a societal loss of around 57 billion euros annually, the paper stated. The direct expenses encompass roughly 40 billion euros for hospitals, nursing, or rehabilitation facilities, and the indirect expenses total approximately 16 billion euros due to unemployment or production failures. The intake of alcohol is frequently overlooked critically, and it remains perceived as "completely normal", said Federal Drug Commissioner Burkhard Blienert (SPD). However, he demanded, "We must also acknowledge that every sip is harmful."

"Health policy and healthcare authorities, along with relevant social entities, must strive for a reduction in overall alcohol consumption and the ensuing repercussions on consumers, their surroundings, and society," the joint statement read. "Increasing the concentration of sales establishments, including the initiation of licensed businesses, is a smart move." Furthermore, "The national government is encouraged to enforce a total ban on alcohol advertising."

Read also:

  1. The German Press Agency reported the joint statement by the German Center for Addiction Matters (DHS), the Federal Medical Association (BÄK), and other organizations, demanding price hikes for alcoholic beverages and stricter advertising regulations.
  2. In North Rhine-Westphalia, several events are planned as part of the action week, including a driving course with simulated alcohol impairment and management training sessions for employees supporting alcohol-reliant colleagues.
  3. According to Christina Rummel, managing director of DHS, more than 2.6 million children and adolescents under 18 years old have parents who misuse alcohol or suffer from addiction.
  4. The DHS, along with partners like the DGPPN, is urging companies to provide speech aids and assets to address the issue of alcohol impairment in the workplace.
  5. In Hamm, the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer) and BPtK are organizing addiction prevention days for children and young people, with the participation of local addiction and self-help groups.
  6. Experts emphasize that thousands of accidents involving personal injuries under the influence of alcohol indirectly impact many people, fostering violence and crime.
  7. Burkhard Blienert, the Federal Drug Commissioner (Bundesdrogensenator), stated that Germany is categorized as a "high-alcohol consumption country" and must take responsibility for its harmful effects.
  8. In schools and companies across Germany, including Aachen and Zwickau, prevention days and events are being organized to address the issue of alcohol addiction and its impact on families and society.
  9. The German Press Agency also reported on the inclusion of children and young people in the action week, with events focusing on education and prevention to combat alcohol addiction and its related problems.
  10. The DHS, BÄK, and other organizations highlighted the impact of alcohol addiction on children and families, stating that increasing the concentration of sales establishments and enforcing a total ban on alcohol advertising could help reduce consumption and associated issues.