Alcohol use in the United States is an epidemic problem, and these are the latest statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
• Slightly more than half of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2010 survey (51.8 percent). This translates to an estimated 131.3 million people, which was similar to the 2009 estimate of 130.6 million people (51.9 percent).
• In 2010, nearly one quarter (23.1 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking. This translates to about 58.6 million people. The rate in 2010 was similar to the estimate in 2009 (23.7 percent). Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the 30 days prior to the survey.
• In 2010, heavy drinking was reported by 6.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older, or 16.9 million people. This rate was similar to the rate of heavy drinking in 2009 (6.8 percent). Heavy drinking is defined as binge drinking on at least 5 days in the past 30 days.
• Among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2010, the rate of binge drinking was 40.6 percent, and the rate of heavy drinking was 13.6 percent. These rates were similar to the rates in 2009.
• The rate of current alcohol use among youths aged 12 to 17 was 13.6 percent in 2010, which was lower than the 2009 rate (14.7 percent). Youth binge and heavy drinking rates in 2010 (7.8 and 1.7 percent) were also lower than rates in 2009 (8.8 and 2.1 percent).
• There were an estimated 10.0 million underage (aged 12 to 20) drinkers in 2010, including 6.5 million binge drinkers and 2.0 million heavy drinkers.
• Past month and binge drinking rates among underage persons declined between 2002 and 2010. Past month use declined from 28.8 to 26.3 percent, while binge drinking declined from 19.3 to 17.0 percent.
• In 2010, 55.3 percent of current drinkers aged 12 to 20 reported that their last use of alcohol in the past month occurred in someone else’s home, and 29.9 percent reported that it had occurred in their own home. About one third (30.6 percent) paid for the alcohol the last time they drank, including 8.8 percent who purchased the alcohol themselves and 21.6 percent who gave money to someone else to purchase it. Among those who did not pay for the alcohol they last drank, 38.9 percent got it from an unrelated person aged 21 or older, 16.6 percent from another person younger than 21 years old, and 21.6 percent from a parent, guardian, or other adult family member.
• In 2010, an estimated 11.4 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year. This percentage had dropped since 2002, when it was 14.2 percent. The rate of driving under the influence of alcohol was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (23.4 percent).
• An estimated 6.6 million children under 18 live in households with at least one alcoholic parent.
• In the United States, roughly 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported each year, and approximately once every week, someone dies from this preventable condition.
• Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the third leading cause of the preventable deaths in the United States.
• Statistics reveal that for American employers, alcohol abuse accounts for roughly 67% of total number of substance abuse complaints.
• Approximately 14 million people in the United States are addicted to alcohol or abuse alcohol.
• Alcoholics spend four times the amount of time in a hospital as non-drinkers, mostly from drinking-related injuries.
• 65 people each day die on our highways due to alcohol.
• Long-term, heavy alcohol use is the leading cause of illness and death from liver disease in the U.S.
• Drunk drivers are responsible for 50% of highway fatalities.
• 95% of alcoholics die from their disease and die approximately 26 years earlier than their normal life expectancy.
• Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of America’s murders, suicides and accidental deaths.
• Up to 40% of industrial fatalities and 47% of injuries in the workplace are linked to alcohol consumption and alcoholism.
• More than three fourths of female victims of nonfatal, domestic violence reported that their assailant had been drinking or using drugs.
• About half of state prison inmates and 40% of federal prisoners incarcerated for committing violent crimes report they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their offense.
Dean Sunseri, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Baton Rouge, LA. He has over 20 years experience treating alcohol problems, facilitating interventions and providing substance abuse assessments. He can be reached at 225-290-7252.