First, Do No Harm; A Doctor's Role in Fighting an Epidemic of Moral Despair

I am an Addiction Medicine Physician and Psychiatrist located in Mercer Island who is dedicated to serving the needs of those injured by toxins. As a passionate healthcare advocate caring for the health and well-being of my patients suffering with the mental and physical effects of alcohol use disorder and other substances, I am particularly concerned about the surges in overdose and the impact on mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak and believe that a paradigm shift is needed to reframe the alcoholic culture that has been wholly ingrained into our societal norms.

According to a survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism  (NIAAA), 15.1 million American adults suffered from alcohol use disorder (or alcoholism) in 2015 alone. Additionally, there are around 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in the US each year, making alcohol the fourth leading cause of preventable death in America. In addition, experts from Yale Medicine report that The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have issued warnings asking people to avoid excessive drinking, citing an increased susceptibility and severity to the coronavirus

Despite bar and restaurant closures, online alcohol sales in the US has increased upwards of 243%. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-alcohol-sales-spike-during-coronavirus-outbreak-2020-04-01  Zoom happy hours encourage webcam drinking to fill the void for those missing the more traditional “liquid lunches.” Liquor stores are designated essential businesses, as cutting off the supply of this deadly and toxic substance would place individuals with problematic use at risk for a dangerous, potentially life-threatening condition. The marketing of wine, beer and spirits is big business but at what cost?

The Hippocratic Oath goes beyond the normal constraints of the doctor-patient relationship and calls into question the physicians’ duty in consideration and significance of “First, Do No Harm.” The larger role of the physician advocate in society speaks to mitigating the harms from corporate greed that are fueling the public health crisis, placing our patients at risk. A worldwide disaster, preventable death by alcohol kills 3 million of us every year. it’s time we ask ourselves why we continue to romanticize a culture that revels in keeping so many addicted. There are over 14 million Americans with this chronic, progressive, often fatal disorder with countless family members also suffering the consequences. It’s time for physicians to lead the nation, stop the harms, and end this epidemic.

Author
Dr. Richard Repass

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Know When Alcohol Is an Addiction

Excess alcohol use not only increases your risk for chronic illness, it can also lead to addiction. Learn how to recognize the warning signs of alcohol addiction and how medication-assisted treatments can support your recovery.

When Telemedicine Is the Best Option for You

If you’re missing too many of your medical appointments because of work or transportation issues, you can benefit from the convenience telemedicine offers. Learn what services are available through the online telemedicine platform.

How To Detox from Cannabis Addiction

If you’ve tried quitting marijuana on your own without success, it may be time to consider the benefits of a natural detox program that reduces your cravings for up to two years. Learn more about cannabis addiction and how to overcome it for good.

IV Infusion to Overcome Kratom Addiction

Battling a kratom addiction on your own can be intimidating and overwhelming. If you can’t fight kratom cravings, it may be time to consider the benefits of BR+NAD™ infusion therapy. Here’s what you need to know.

Is Vaping Dangerous?

Vaping has been touted as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, but what we already know shows the opposite may be true. Learn more about the dangers of vaping and how BR+NAD™ infusions can help you overcome a marijuana addiction.