Alcoholism stigma keeps more than 60% of Americans from seeking treatment

stigma alcoholism drinking problems Dr. Katherine Keyes of Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) alcohol use disorder alcohol abuse treatment psychiatric disorders drive under the influence ignition interlock devices breathalyzers New research indicates that due to the stigma of alcoholism, more than 60% of Americans with drinking problems do not seek the help they so desperately need, UPI reported Dec. 5.

Dr. Katherine Keyes of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health led a team of investigators who looked at National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) responses from more than 6,300 participants who met criteria for an alcohol use disorder. According to their findings, problem drinkers who perceived a stigma associated with alcohol abuse, which accounted for a full 2/3 of the participants, were less likely to seek treatment than those who did not.   This was especially true among men, racial and ethnic minorities, and participants with lower income and education.

“Given that alcohol use disorders are one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in the United States, the empirical documentation of stigma as a barrier to treatment is an important public health finding,” said Keyes.  Their recommendation is that stigma reduction should be integrated into public health efforts to promote alcohol treatment.  And while that is all well and good, that could literally take a lifetime and in the meantime . . .

In the meantime, all those Americans with drinking problems continue with their problems and most likely will drive under the influence.

This is “empirical documentation of stigma” also applies to ignition interlock devices, better known as breathalyzers, which is why they will never be accepted by the general public no matter what label The Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) slaps on them.  In our society we believe that in order for someone to have a breathalyzer in their vehicle they must have gotten a DUI arrest or DWI arrest which translates into “you are a bad person.”  Americans are asking the federal government’s to spend $60 million dollars to develop the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) system, but in my humble opinion, the general public is never going to accept the type of technology they are currently working on  as they already see it as nothing more than a fancy, dressed up term for breathalyzer.

We have worked very hard to keep our Cleare2Drive System from getting just such a reputation because our Impairment Detection Technology (IDT) is NOT a breathalyzer – never has been, never will be.  Our IDT is the newest in safety technology just like airbags were a few years ago.  Unlike breathalyzers our system is so discreet that even a passenger in your front seat won’t notice that you are doing anything out of the ordinary to start your vehicle as the sequence necessary to start the vehicle is typically completed in less than 10 seconds.

Granted our clients are typically NOT the person with the substance abuse problem, most of the time it is a member of their family, and in talking to enough of them we know that they would never consider installing a breathalyzer on the vehicle voluntarily just because of  the “empirical stigma”.  With the Cleared2Drive system no one is stigmatized or embarrassed by having to blow into a tube.  We purposefully designed the Cleared2Drive System to detect impairment but do it in a manner that reinforces good behavior, protects everyone on the road, all without ever subjecting the driver to embarrassment or humiliation.

Advertisements

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: