While many people drink for pleasure – wine with dinner, a cocktail to relax after work, or a beer with friends – many are alcohol dependent. According to a 2017 study published in JAMA Psychiatry, 12.7 percent of the U.S. population now meets diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder.
“Alcohol dependency can be psychologically and physiologically. If the supply is cut off for that population of people, it can be potentially catastrophic,” said Elaine Hyshka, a researcher and assistant professor with the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta.
Not everyone with alcohol use disorder who abstains from drinking will experience medical complications, but for the smaller proportion that does, it can be life-threatening. They can go into withdrawal, which can cause seizures and other different psychiatric complications. So yes, we are considered an essential business in order to serve these people and others.