This was a phrase which was suggested as a replacement for Passive Drinking by Prof Sir Ian Gilmore at the Alcohol Concern conference last November. It was felt that there needed to be an expression like passive smoking with tobacco harm that indicated the wider impact that alcohol abuse and dependence can have.
And then in December I was contacted by the outreach team at rehabs.com who shared with me this great infographic called Collateral Damage, How Drug Addiction Affects Families and Friends and you can view it here:
They analyzed the top addiction-related forums to find out how friends and family members were seeking support and interestingly, they noticed that women are the most common posters, broken down by wife, mother, girlfriend, and sister and that alcohol was by far the most common drug mentioned at almost 35%.
In their email to me they also said ‘I read your recent article, Booze aversion therapy, and I think aversion therapy is really a good idea to use is patients with alcohol addiction. Many would benefit if people are informed with this technique and if many doctors are properly trained to do it.’
I thought their work was a fascinating insight into the issue and underlined to me that women were the largest group going on line, not just to find solutions for themselves, but for loved ones within their family or friendship groups. It also reinforced to me that the expression alcohol collateral damage might be the right expression even though Prof Gilmore at the conference thought it was perhaps too harsh seeing as it’s original meaning is frequently used as a military term where non-combatants are accidentally or unintentionally killed or wounded (wiki). I’d be really interested to hear what you think too?