As an attorney who has handled hundreds of DUI cases, I have come to recognize that some of these crimes occur as the result of addiction. These cases sometimes feel tragic, as a person's mistake is more attributable to their condition than any desire to break the law.
Medical professionals no longer refer to disorders related to a dependency on alcohol that causes distress or harm as alcoholism. They now refer to such a condition as an alcohol use disorder. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism currently estimates that over 7% of adult Americans suffer from an alcohol use disorder. Death by an alcohol-related cause is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
As problems with alcohol exist worldwide, doctors and researchers have long had a reason to search out solutions to the condition that did not rely solely on rehabilitation, support groups, therapy, or fighting the symptoms of alcohol abuse. Although these options have helped millions of people who struggle with their demons, they are not effective for everyone. Researchers in Europe may have found a solution that will be effective for anyone.
A few weeks ago, a drug named Nalmefene became available in England and Wales to those who regularly consume more than 7.5 units of alcohol a day for men or 5 units a day for women. Experts say that the pill, taken daily at a cost of £3 per dose, significantly reduces the urge of wanting alcohol.
The pill, which also goes by the name Selincro, can help those that suffer with an alcohol disorder to cut back their alcohol intake gradually. It is not suitable for those that need to stop drinking immediately.
Experts estimate that 35,000 people will be prescribed the pill in the next year. They suggest that therapy accompany the pill.
In clinical trials, the drug cut consumption by an average of 66 percent. About 70 percent of patients involved in the trial had never received treatment for their addiction problem. Its most frequent adverse reactions include dizziness, insomnia, and nausea.
The drug works by blocking the brain signals that make drinking feel good. It is unclear when it will become available in the United States as a treatment for alcoholism. It has been used domestically in IV form to treat narcotic overdoses and no longer has patent protection here.
This is exciting news for those that struggle with their use of alcohol. Breaking dependency can be a difficult task made more difficult by its prevalence in American media and culture.
I often see the tragic results that an alcohol use disorders bring and hope that any solution that may decrease them is brought to the table.
If you struggle with an alcohol use disorder and have been charged with a DUI in or around Seattle in King, Pierce, or Snohomish counties, you need a knowledgeable, seasoned attorney to help protect your rights. The State of Washington treats those charged or convicted with a DUI harshly. Do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation.