Addiction Treatment

Tobacco and Alcohol: The Legal Addiction

Written By:

Becky Babb

Tobacco and Alcohol: The Legal Addiction

Legal Drug Addiction

Millions of Americans use tobacco and alcohol on a regular, and sometimes excessive, basis. It’s easy to fall into drug abuse when the drug is legal, readily available, and use is actually socially and culturally encouraged. Add up all the addicts of illegal drugs in the US, and the figure doesn’t even come close to the number of people who regularly use legal alcohol and tobacco in an addictive, abusive manner. Add up the moderate use of illicit drugs, even popular ones like marijuana, and the number is still lower than with alcohol or tobacco. While the US spends billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man hours fighting the illegal drug trade, it is primarily the legal drugs that cause the most death and destruction.

Statistics on Addiction

All this is covered in the Global Statistics on Addictive Behaviors: 2014 Status Report, an article included in the May edition of the Journal of Addiction. The research covered in the article was conducted to gain a better, unbiased understanding of drug abuse. The public perception on drugs—that certain drugs are either good or bad—is mostly steered by the political aspect: if it’s legal, it’s safe; if it’s illegal, it’s dangerous. With biochemistry, psychiatry, and overdose rates in the US taken into consideration, answers aren’t so easy or black-and-white.

Alcohol Addiction

Along with other legal drugs—namely pain and anxiety medication like Oxycontin and opiates—alcohol and tobacco devastate a troublingly high portion of the population, and cost the country in health care bills, loss of industry productivity, high crime rates, and so on. Alcohol has been cited as the most destructive drug when it comes to these factors.

Objective Reality of Legal Drugs

This isn’t to say that an illicit drug is inherently good, or that a legal drug is inherently bad. The objective reality here is that alcohol and tobacco are both legal and addictive/dangerous. Never let legality dictate what drugs you do or do not use—at least not if you’re deciding on the basis of safety or potential for abuse.Partly because of its legality, alcoholism can slip past us. Although you may need a few drinks a night, you’re still functioning, you still have a job, so you figure it’s all okay. You wouldn’t be thinking that way if it was heroin you did sparingly, because heroin didn’t come from the 7/11 just a short walk from your apartment.If you’re suffering from substance abuse, no matter which substance, contact the specialists at The Last Resort to discuss treatment options. Call 512-750-6750

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