Is climate change now the scapegoat for everything?

Columbia University suggests warmer temperatures might be driving up hospital visits related to alcohol and drug use. Illustration by Midjourney.

Scientists are now attributing the rise in alcohol and drug use to climate change. A team from Columbia University has decided to correlate our warming planet with people’s inclination to indulge in substance abuse.

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Apparently, people are more inclined to indulge in a drink or two when the sun’s out, leading to dehydration and, consequently, more hospital visits.

They’ve meticulously analyzed hospital rates in New York State from 1995 to 2014 and concluded that warmer temperatures have increased hospital visits.

The researchers seem to believe that people tend to consume more alcohol in pleasant outdoor weather, leading to more perspiring and, subsequently, dehydration.

And it doesn’t stop at alcohol.

They’ve also linked the use of cannabis, cocaine, opioids, and sedatives to higher temperatures, but only up to a limit of 65.8°F. It seems the scientists have found the exact temperature at which people decide to partake in substance abuse.

Robbie M. Parks, the first author, stated, “During periods of higher temperatures, there was a corresponding increase in hospital visits related to alcohol and substance abuse. This highlights some of the less obvious potential consequences of climate change.”

They’ve based their conclusions on data from over 671,625 alcohol and 721,469 substance abuse-related hospital visits over 20 years, comparing those cases to daily temperatures and relative humidity.

The data showed alcohol-related disorder hospital visits increased by 24 percent amid higher temperatures, while drug-related visits saw up to a 42 percent increase. Males made up the majority of hospital visits across all causes.

It seems the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is on board, sharing data in 2022 showing that the highest alcohol-related hospital admissions were reported in July, August, and May.

But the blame game doesn’t stop there.

Doctors in Canada are now attributing health issues like asthma to climate change. Dr. Kyle Merritt from British Columbia even went as far as diagnosing a patient suffering from asthma with a ‘climate change’ condition after a heatwave.

‘If we’re not looking at the underlying cause, and we’re just treating the symptoms, we’re just gonna keep falling further and further behind,’ the emergency room doctor told Glacier Media.

And researchers at the University of Toronto found those who lived in warmer regions were up to nearly 50 percent more likely to suffer severe vision impairment than those in cooler places.

So, there you have it. The next time you reach for a drink on a warm day or have trouble breathing or seeing, remember, it’s not your choice—it’s the climate’s.


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