Many NJ residents suffer from someone else’s drinking, study finds
We know that second-hand smoke can be dangerous. But what about second-hand drinking?
A new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs finds each year 1 in 5 adults experience harm because of someone else’s drinking — which suggests more than a million Garden State adults are impacted.
“We found if people are drinking around you, you can have negative consequences based on their behavior,” Kate Karriker-Jaffe, a senior scientist at the Public Health Institute’s Alcohol Research Group, said.
She said the types of harm that were reported included “being harassed or threatened by someone who has been drinking, having your property damaged, and also things like physical aggression or physical harm by someone who’s been drinking.”
There's also harm associated with driving, marital problems and financial difficulties.
She said the survey was a “snapshot in time of these people’s lives,” and the number of people harmed would probably have been much higher if the timeframe was longer than the previous 12 months.
According to the study, 23% of men and 21% of women reported harm of some kind because of someone else’s drinking.
For men, the most common harm was from physical aggression and property damage. Women were more likely to report family, marital or financial problems.
“Even the harms that we think might be less serious, like being harassed or bothered, can really compound and have negative effects on people if it’s someone you live with or someone you’re in close contact with," Karriker-Jaffe said.
The survey found people younger than 25 had a higher risk of experiencing harm from someone else’s drinking.
“You can talk to your mental health provider or a physician, to discuss what’s happening or to get referrals if you want to help someone find treatment," she said.
The study analyzed data from two telephone surveys, the national Alcohol’s Harm to Others survey, and the National Alcohol Survey conducted in 2015.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com
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