Last year, President Donald Trump donated $100,000 – his salary from the third quarter of 2018 – to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a government agency that supports and conducts research on the impact alcohol has on human health and well-being.

President Trump, who has never drunk alcohol, has warned of the dangers of using drugs, largely due to being faced with the loss of his brother Fred to alcoholism in 1981. Fred battled this addiction from his early 20s on, while frequently advising his brother: “don’t drink” and “don’t smoke.”

“To this day I’ve never had a drink, and I have no longing for it,” Trump said in 2017. “I have no interest in it. To this day, I’ve never had a cigarette.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) falls underneath the U.S. National Institutes of Health and is the lead agency responsible for biomedical and behavioral research on alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and other health effects of alcohol. Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NIAAA’s work focuses on leading the national effort to study the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and reduce alcohol-related problems through coordination and collaboration.

The laboratories and researchers housed within NIAAA work to develop new strategies to prevent and treat alcohol-related disorders while translating scientific discoveries for the benefit of the public, thus filling a void in the realm of evidence-based information on alcohol and health. NIAAA works with other research institutions, agencies, and programs on the local, state, national, and international levels in translating and disseminating findings on the biological basis of alcohol use disorders to providers, policymakers, and the public. The clinical research done includes programs such as prevention, intramural research, and neo-prohibitionism.

Alcoholism is an epidemic in America. In 2016, the number of alcoholic liver disease deaths was 21,815, while up to 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes. 1 in 10 deaths amongst adults aged 20-64 have been reported to be caused by excessive drinking, while nearly a quarter of all adults reported that they had engaged in binge drinking over the past month.

Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, just behind tobacco (first) and poor diet/physical inactivity (second).

While there is no one single cause of alcoholism, there are in fact dozens of risk factors that play a role and can lead to the development of an addiction to alcohol. Some of these internal factors include genetics, psychological conditions, personal choices, and drinking history, while external factors include family, environment, cultural norms, and social pressures.

Certain groups of people seem to be more susceptible to alcohol abuse for a varying degree of reasons. Men are nearly two times as likely to binge drink than women, and groups of individuals like college students are more likely to fall into peer pressure and cultural norms and engage in risky behaviors that can persist later on in life. A family history of physical or psychological abuse also can lead to a greater chance of alcohol abuse, and those who have experienced some form of trauma can abuse it as a coping mechanism. Poverty, seclusion, mental illness, and ostracized communities are also more susceptible to develop alcohol-related health issues.

With President Trump financially contributing to the research and at the very least attempting to start a national dialogue on the issue of alcoholism and it’s deadly effects, it’s important that we both educate the public about this public health crisis and empathize with those fighting for a healthier, more fulfilling life.

“We understand why it is difficult,” said Trump in 2017. “The fact is, if we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start. It’s really, really easy not to take [drugs]. And I think that’s going to end up being our most important thing.”

If you or someone you love is going through the pains of alcoholism, there are many pathways to living a sober life. Ethos Structured Sober Living is an all-male community whose mission is to foster long-term sobriety through creating a supportive environment and cultivating strength and understanding as our brother’s keeper.

Contact us today for more information at (323) 942-9996.