Alcohol Awareness Month

  • April 25, 2022


Drinking Alcohol: Not Good for Your Heart or Health

By Carolyn Reynolds, Associate Director of Behavioral Health-Adult and Substance Use Services, WSHC


For years having a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail was considered a harmless way to unwind. Recent data shows that drinking alcohol is not as harmless to our health as it seems.  A new report from the World Alcohol Federation, says “drinking any amount of alcohol is not good for your health.”

The report examines the heavy toll that drinking can take on the body, including damage to the liver, and heart, and links to many cancers. Daily drinking may indeed be bad for your health, especially if you suffer from certain chronic health conditions, mental health issues, or have a family history of substance use disorder.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and it’s a good time to reconsider our drinking habits and the role it plays in our lives. Whittier Street Health Center encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking any amount of alcohol.

Drinking alcohol in small amounts and in moderation is deeply engrained in the American way of life and is supported in advertisements, on movie screens, and in other media.  Within our vulnerable community, we know that not many people can drink in “moderation” and their drinking habits are not “less than 1 drink per day which is a 12oz bottle of beer, or a 5oz glass of wine or cocktail with 1.5oz of hard liquor,” as recommended for years by the US Dietary Guidelines states.

The research from the World Alcohol Federation on the impacts of drinking shows there are many reasons for good health to cut back and eliminate daily alcohol drinking.  We know that in communities of color alcohol has contributed to chronic health issues, such as cirrhosis of the liver, chronic kidney disease, breast cancer in women, cardiovascular disease, and strokes. In addition, alcohol use disorder also contributes to many social determinants of health issues such as the inability to work due to suffering from a hangover, and can lead to loss of job, housing, friendships, interpersonal relationships within the family, and other issues.  People in our minority communities are sometimes unaware of the mental effects alcohol has on our emotional wellbeing, which can also lead to domestic violence, sleep disturbances, and depression, just to name a few.

Knowing the signs of alcohol abuse, its risks, and unsafe use is the first step to knowing when and how to ask for help. If you think you need help, come to Whittier’s Early Support and Recovery (ESR) Group. ESR is held every Monday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am (Check-in begins at 9:45 am). Please contact the Behavioral Health Department at 617-989-3009 or 617-989-3127 for more information contact: Carolyn Reynolds, Associate Director of Behavioral Health-Adult and Substance Use Services.

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).