Calling Off Alcohol for a Change
In introducing a story titled "20 Ways the World Got Better in 2019," Time magazine's Elijah Wolfson notes how it is "difficult, in the context of the daily onslaught of bad news and its demands on our attention, to remember that when you look at the long arc of human civilization, there are many, many things that continue to get better."
As noted in the National Institutes of Health report on alcohol-related deaths, researchers noted that there might be positive trends underneath the raw data. The New York Times columnist Matt Richtel writes, "The increase in alcohol deaths may reflect a bubble of baby boomers while the dropping rates of alcohol use among teenagers may portend a brighter future."
"If you want to look at this optimistically, we may be a tipping point," Powell added. "Millennials may be more interested in health."
As reported by Bloomberg, "Young Americans are engaging in less risky sexual behavior ... They are doing fewer illegal drugs and drinking less alcohol, even as their elders do more of these things. Prescription opioid use among teenagers has also fallen substantially during the past decade."
This should not be taken to imply that Americans do not have deep social and economic problems that need addressing. It is just that in the chaotic, destabilizing and polarized world in which we live, it is far too easy to miss the things that can give us hope.
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