Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol. Keep in mind, that’s JUST alcohol— a legal, popular beverage consumed by most Americans. This number doesn’t include other drugs like painkillers, heroin and cocaine. To be inclusive: TOTAL drug use is responsible for 11.8 million deaths worldwide, each year. With these numbers burned into my brain, I was curious how COVID mortalities compared to these startling statistics. I wanted to put the COVID pandemic into perspective with the drug epidemic—a crisis that I’m far too familiar with. According to the WHO, COVID was responsible for around 3 million deaths worldwide in 2020. I’m not going to lie, the disparity in these numbers makes me question a lot of things.
The news, the internet, social media, TV etc. has bombarded us with COVID awareness. This pandemic has monopolized our attention, experiences and thoughts on a daily basis. We eat, sleep and breathe this pandemic. We wear masks to prevent us from breathing in COVID. We get injected with experimental vaccines to protect ourselves and others from dying from the disease. We were originally under the impression that this experimental vaccine would protect us from contracting the virus, only to find out, after the fact, the jab doesn’t prevent us from getting COVID. Through trial and error (on the human population) we’re learning that it prevents us from dying if we do contract the disease— plot twist. If scientists botched this critical prediction, then how can I trust the safety of this vaccine?
Everything we see, hear and discuss revolves around this deadly virus. I get it, we’re in a pandemic, I’m not blind to that reality. I’m just disturbed that every resource, news source and outlet is being flooded with pandemic panic when there’s an even more deadly epidemic that’s been tormenting the world for decades.
Society is quick to judge me for refusing a vaccine. I’m a selfish, inconsiderate American who doesn’t give a shit about your grandma. I’m just another young person, stomping around town with no mask and no interest or concern for humanity. There’s an influx of precautions and measures being enforced for this pandemic, while an epidemic ravages our society with low proactivity compared to what COVID has received, despite a far lower mortality rate. We force children to wear masks, yet we bombard and expose them to alcohol through commercials and television. The government hands out free experimental vaccines to prevent lives from being lost due to COVID while making it impossible for a broke/homeless addict to receive decent treatment—a tragedy that I’ve experienced first-hand. What is the government doing to “flatten the curve” of addiction and substance abuse? Shouldn’t the media be covering the catastrophic effects of drugs and alcohol? Why is our collective society so sensitive to uncertainty related to COVID, yet zero sense of urgency for alcohol and drug-related mortalities? I have lost 12 people under the age of 30 to alcohol and drugs. No one bats an eye. There’s a spike in COVID deaths and the media, the government and our fellow leaders are in a panicked frenzy. Why is there no pressure or panic generated to prevent overdose deaths? If the government was SO concerned about American lives, then why not provoke the same amount of urgency regarding the drug epidemic?