With alcohol-related harm growing across the country, the NHNPA, the NH Medical Society, and others have launched a new online alcohol resource and awareness campaign through a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.  Its goals are to increase recognition of alcohol’s potential contribution to diverse health problems and to improve the care of people whose alcohol use may negatively impact their health. 

Alcohol use is a leading preventable cause of death in the United States, contributing to more than 140,000 deaths* annually. Alcohol consumption has steadily risen in the U.S. over the last decade with particularly steep increases during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC notes that alcohol-induced deaths increased by 30% between 2009 and 2019 and then sharply increased by 26% from 2019 to 2020, the first year of the pandemic.  

Alcohol use can contribute to numerous health conditions, including common ones such as hypertension, sleep disturbance, cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder, often in the absence of an identified alcohol use disorder. Healthcare providers can improve their patients’ health by identifying and addressing unhealthy alcohol use. 

“Alcohol use is associated with so many of the common medical problems we see among our patients, but we often either don’t make the connection or we don’t feel comfortable asking or advising our patients about alcohol use. Our hope is to change that with this campaign”, said Molly Rossignol, DO, FAAFP, FASAM, Medical Director of the New Hampshire Professionals Health Program.

Created for busy clinicians, the unhealthy alcohol use resource found at nhms.org/alcohol-misuse provides critical information about alcohol and its effects, resources to conduct alcohol screening and brief intervention, and information about options for evidence-based treatment when indicated. It also contains vital information for clinicians to share with patients and their families.