Alcoholism Statistics

Alcoholism statistics reveal the disease’s omnipresence across the U.S and underscore the continuing need for aggressive education and treatment to help problem drinkers and the many lives they impact.

Worldwide, the ramifications of alcohol abuse and dependence are even more staggering. The following alcohol abuse statistics were compiled by the National Institute on Alcohol Recovery, based in Gaithersburg.

Breadth of the Disease

  • Alcoholism statistics tell us that about 43% of US adults or 76 million people have been exposed to alcohol dependence in the family. They grew up with or married a compulsive drinker or had a blood relative who was a problem drinker.
  • Alcohol abuse statistics also tell us that a total of 23 million Americans suffer from substance abuse addiction, and 18 million is alcohol related. Almost three times as many men as women are problem drinkers.
  • Compulsive drinkers are about two times more likely to be divorced than those not dependent on alcohol.

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Cost of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence

  • Alcohol abuse statistics tell us that untreated addiction costs the U.S. $400 billion per year.
  • Untreated addiction is more expensive than three of the nation's top 10 killers. It is six times more expensive than heart disease, which costs $133.2 billion a year, and diabetes, which costs $130 billion a year. It is four times more expensive than cancer which is $96.1 billion a year.
  • Every American adult pays nearly $1,000 per year for the damages of addiction.
  • Shortfalls in productivity and employment among individuals with alcohol or other drug-related problems cost the American economy $80.9 billion in 1992, of which $66.7 billion is attributed to alcohol and $14.2 billion to other drugs.

Alcoholism Statistics for Children and Youth

  • More than nine million children live with a parent dependent on alcohol.
  • 62% of high school seniors report that they have been drunk; 31% say that have had five or more drinks in a row during the last two weeks.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the leading known cause of mental retardation – and the most preventable of all birth defects.
  • Alcohol abuse statistics tell us that alcohol use by minors is estimated to cost $58 billion per year. This includes traffic crashes, violent crime, burns, drowning, alcohol poisonings, suicide attempts, and treatment.
  • A survey of female college students found a significant relationship between the amount of alcohol the women reported drinking each week and their experiences of sexual victimization.

Alcohol Abuse Statistics on Treatment

  • Alcoholism statistics tell us that between 700,000 to two million Americans receive alcohol dependency treatment on any given day.
  • Women comprise 34% of the Alcoholics Anonymous membership.
  • Surveys indicate that up to 11 percent of elderly patients admitted to hospitals exhibit symptoms of alcohol dependence, as do 20 percent of elderly patients in psychiatric wards.
  • Between 20 and 30 per cent of male psychiatric admissions are alcohol dependent or have alcohol-related problems.

Alcoholism and Work

  • In 1995, productivity losses due to alcohol were estimated to be $119 billion.
  • Up to 47% of industrial injuries can be linked to alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence.
  • Post accident testing of railroad employees in 1990 showed alcoholism statistics at 3.2 for those who tested positive for alcohol or other prohibited drugs.
  • Alcohol-related job performance problems are caused not only by on-the-job drinking but also by heavy drinking outside of work. There is a direct relationship between the frequency of being “hungover” at work and the frequency of feeling sick at work, sleeping on the job, and having problems with job tasks or co-workers.

Alcoholism Statistics on Fatalities and Violence

  • Alcohol contributes to 100,000 deaths annually, making it the third leading cause of preventable mortality in the US.
  • 40 percent of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related.
  • Between 48% and 64% of people who die in fires have blood alcohol levels indicating intoxication.
  • Alcohol has been involved in violence caused by 86 percent of homicide offenders, 37 percent of assault offenders, 60 percent of sexual offenders, 57 percent of men and 27 percent of women involved in marital violence, and 13 percent of child abusers.
  • Based on victim reports, each year 183,000 (37%) rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol use by the offender, as do just over 197,000 (15%) robberies, about 661,000 (27%) aggravated assaults, and nearly 1.7 million (25%) simple assaults.
  • Studies of suicide victims in the general population show that about 20% of such suicide victims are alcohol dependent.
  • One-quarter of all emergency room admissions, one-third of all suicides, and more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol-related.

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More than alcoholism statistics on our alcoholism facts page

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