Alcohol and the USA Community

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death, killing more than 100,000 people annually.

Communities Pay the Lion’s Share of Costs Associated with Problem Drinking

  • Alcohol-related problems cost every man, woman and child in American roughly $683 (in 1998 dollars) each year.
  • The cost of alcohol problems includes lost productivity (70 percent); health care expenditures to treat alcoholism and other medical consequences (14 percent); alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes (8 percent); and alcohol-related crime (3 percent).
  • Almost half (45 percent) of the cost of alcohol problems is borne by problem drinkers and their households.
  • Society also pays for the negative effects of alcohol use: the federal government pays 20 percent, primarily in reduced tax revenue as a result of productivity losses; state and local governments pay 18 percent in reduced tax revenue, crime and motor vehicle crash costs; private insurers pay 10 percent in life, health, auto and fire insurance; and the victims of alcohol-related crime and the non-drinking victims of motor vehicle crashes pay 6 percent.

Alcohol-Impaired Driving Remains Major Public Health Problem

  • About three out of every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash during their lifetime.
  • Forty percent of people killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes were people other than the drinking driver.
  • Binge drinkers (those who consumed five or more drinks at a single sitting during the past month) are 30 times more likely to drive while impaired than those who do not binge.
  • Nearly three-quarters of drivers convicted of driving while impaired are either problem drinkers or people with alcoholism.

Crime Severity Increases With Alcohol Consumption

  • Twenty-five percent of violent crime victims – nearly three million people – report that the perpetrator had been drinking before committing the crime; only five percent were under the influence of drugs other than alcohol.
  • The more serious the crime, the more likely alcohol is involved.
  • Alcohol use is a factor in as many as 47 percent of murders, 15 percent of robberies, 26 percent of aggravated and simple assaults, and 37 percent of rapes and sexual assaults.

Alcohol’s Availability Impacts Kids and Neighborhoods

  • The majority of 8th and 10th graders report it is easier to buy alcohol than cigarettes in their communities.
  • Adults who purchase alcohol for minors and businesses that sell alcohol to minors are rarely prosecuted for violations of minimum drinking age laws.
  • For every 1,000 minors arrested for alcohol possession, criminal penalties are faced by only 130 of the businesses and only 88 of the adults.
  • Violence occurs more often in neighborhoods where alcohol is widely available than in those where it is not.

From; Alcohol and Our Community

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