President's Message - January 2023
Let me start by wishing all of you a happy and healthy new year! And to thank you all for the work you’ve done over the last year to help keep our children safe from drugs of all kinds. We’ve accomplished some good things together, and I want to urge you to keep up the fight.
But with all the talk about “Dry January” this month, it occurs to me that the one dangerous drug few people take seriously is alcohol. That’s because it’s legal and because it has become such an expected part of our social interactions.
The young people who sparked the idea of Dry January, however, have begun a movement that may help to move alcohol out of the mainstream and toward the disrepute it deserves.
As the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) wrote recently, “Alcohol is so ubiquitous in our society that it’s like wallpaper. We don’t even recognize its presence.”
This comment accompanied a study last year showing that more than 99,000 people died in 2020 of alcohol-related causes, ranging from alcohol-associated liver diseases to mental and behavioral disorders to drug overdoses involving alcohol.
Another study, also published in JAMA, found that drinking any amount of alcohol was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. And even low levels of alcohol consumption raise the risk for several types of cancer.
But let’s look at Dry January from another angle; that is, the benefits of quitting. One study published in BMJ Open found those who gave up alcohol for just one month lost nearly five pounds, lowered their blood pressure, and dramatically reduced their insulin resistance, a marker for type 2 diabetes risk.
Here’s just a partial list of the many benefits of cutting alcohol out of your life:
- improved digestion
- better quality sleep
- weight loss
- improved mood and lower stress levels
- improved focus and mental clarity
- healthier-looking, glowing skin
- stronger immune system
Pick a Month
The point I want to stress is that the Dry January movement is an amazing effort to counteract the widespread acceptance of alcohol in our society.
So why not make a commitment to try the 31-day challenge? Does it have to be January? Of course not! Pick a month that works for you, but I urge you to try it.
It’s one small step that can lead you toward better health overall!
-Peggy Sapp, President & CEO