The cause is an opioid overdose.
Those at the meeting mourn by sharing fond memories of the deceased.
The typical downward trajectory begins with a legitimate need for painkillers.
There might have been medical procedure or a pulled muscle. Soon enough, the medical doctor refuses to re-fill the prescription. Purchases are made on the street. Of course, there's no truth-in-labeling. Whatever the substance contains, it frequently winds up killing the consumers.
However, not only overdose deaths are the result of the opioid epidemic.
In addition, that high-profile subject in the media and among policy-makers is distracting from this reality: Alcohol abuse is still a major problem in society.
According to the CDC, problem drinking kills one of 10 working adults 20 to 64 yeas old. Its economic cost is estimated to be in the ballpark of about $250 billion.
Yet, alcohol abuse is receding in the national consciousness. Companies which are not serving it at holiday parties are primarily doing that as a result of the Weinstein Effect. Their fear is that lessened inhibitions could trigger sexual misconduct. That there could be problem drinkers attending the party probably was not on their radar, signalling need for caution.
My hunch, though, is those parties won't be memorable for their fun. I know. Early in my recovery I hosted a booze-free house-warning in my new house. The tension was palpable.
The raw reality is that, from the days of the Mayflower, alcohol has a standard role in society Susan Cheever's book "Drinking in America" chronicles that. Here is a review. Indeed, boozing might have been what made America great.
That's why problem drinking is so difficult to address. Drinking is an accepted social activity. Gobbling pain pills is not.
Long after the opioid epidemic runs its course, America likely will still have a serious problem with alcohol.
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