Terry Trujillo’s family has been facing an ordeal that would be familiar to a surprising number of Americans. Holding back tears, she remembers the moment she had to explain to her adopted nephew that his severe learning disabilities, memory problems and behavior issues were the result of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
“The little boy would say ‘Well what’s that, what do you mean?’ And it’s hard to sit there and tell a child it means that your mother drank alcohol while you were in her stomach, and to see their face. Because they know it’s wrong,” Trujillo said.
Excessive drinking is among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S., according to a report just released by the CDC.
Of the 11 states studied, New Mexico had the highest death rate due to alcohol use. For every 100,000 residents, there are about 51 deaths related to excessive drinking, which is almost double the median rate.
The report also tallied up all the years of potential life lost. In New Mexico, that’s a little more than 30 thousand years annually.
According to the CDC, excessive alcohol consumption, primarily binge drinking, poses a huge public health problem across the country. Major economic impacts include police responses to violence and treatment of health problems related to alcohol.