The Impact of Alcohol Abuse on American Society

Number of traffic fatalities annually related to drugs and/or alcohol

  • Alcohol related crashes kills someone in the U.S. every 22 minutes. At any minute, one of 50 drivers on the road is drunk and every weekend night, one out of 10 is drunk.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, there are 105,000 alcohol related deaths annually due to drunken drivers and alcohol related injuries and diseases. AFA journal – 6/90
  • Alcohol related accidents are the leading cause of deaths among young people. Dallas Times – Sat., 6/9/90
  • The damage caused by alcohol impaired drivers is the same as if a Boeing 747 with over 500 passengers crashed every eight days killing everyone.
  • Drunk drivers are responsible for 1/2 of highway fatal injuries.
  • 65 people each day die on our highways due to alcohol. California Capitol Report – 11/89
  • In 1988, 25,000 Americans were killed in auto accidents involving alcohol. Over one half million were injured. AFA journal – 1/90
  • One half of all traffic accidents are alcohol related. U.S.A. Today – 1/24/90

Number of handgun or violent crimes annually related to drugs and/or alcohol and number of murders annually related to drugs and/or alcohol?

  • An estimated 23,200 murdered in U.S. last year Newsweek – 3/25/91
  • Of all murders, alcohol was involved in at least 34% of cases.
  • Rape – More than 1/2 of rapists had been drinking.
  • Child abuse – mothers convicted are 3 times more likely to be alcoholics – fathers 10 times more likely.
  • Suicide – Up to 36% of victims were drinking just before. Prodigy Services Co. – 3/3/92
  • Heavy drinking is involved in 60% of violent crimes, 30% of suicides, and 80% of fire and drowning accidents.
  • The suicide rate of alcoholics is 30 times that of the general population. AFA journal – 1/90
  • Among men arrested for serious crime in 12 major cities, 53% (in Phoenix) to 79% (New York) tested positive for illicit drugs in voluntary urine analysis at time of arrest. Insight – 2/29/89
  • About 2/3 of people arrested in larger cities for felonies test positive for illegal drugs. Economist – 1/21/89

Annual cost to health insurance industry related to drugs and/or alcohol.

  • More than half of all confirmed abuse reports and 75% of child deaths involve drug or alcohol abuse on the part of the parents. Time – 1/27/92
  • The use of alcohol cost $15 billion (1983) for health care and treatment.
  • The economic cost of alcohol abuse is projected to be $150 billion in 1995. Alcohol & Health – U.S. Dept. of H.H.S. 1/90
  • The economic cost of America’s drug habit is somewhere between $50 billion and $100 billion a year. (Does not include alcohol) Economist – 1/21/89

Number of babies born annually with problems related to drugs and/or alcohol.

  • 2.9% of 1,000 live births have fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol & Health – U.S. Dept. of H.H.S. – 1/90
  • It is costing one half billion dollars per year to treat F.A.S. and F.A.E.
  • It is estimated that 375,000 babies born each year are exposed to one or more illicit drugs prenatally.
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy uses an estimate of 100,000 drug exposed babies per year. Maternal Drug Abuse and Drug Exposed children – U.S. Dept. of H.H. S. – 9/92
  • The cost of government to prepare drug babies to enter kindergarten will soon reach $15 billion per year. Reader’s Digest – 2/91
  • More than 1,000 babies a day are being born drug damaged. More than 100,000 per year are “crack babies.” CBS Nightly News – 4/5/90

AIDS related to drug use.

  • One baby with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome will cost $405,000 in direct special services from birth to 65 years. San Diego County Dept. of Health Services
  • Newborns got AIDS at a faster rate than gays or IV drug users. 30-40% of children born to infected women are HIV positive. Newsweek – 6/25/90
  • One in 2,200 infants born in the U.S. in 1989 was infected with HIV. Journal of A.M.A. – 4/3/91
  • Prenatally acquired AIDS is the 9th leading cause of death among children 1 to 4 years.
  • 80% of all pediatric AIDS cases are attributed to transmission from mothers at risk for HIV infection. IV drug abuse is a major contributing factor. Nearly 75% of Pediatric AIDS is attributed to maternal transmission involving IV drug use. Maternal Drug Abuse and Drug Exposed Children

First appeared in Rescue Magazine, Winter 1994. Bi-monthly journal of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions.