57 Alcohol Abuse Statistics, Facts & Prevalence

Alcoholism is a prevalent problem in the United States and across the world. It affects individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their age, gender, or social status.

Published On

October 1, 2023

Alcoholism is a prevalent problem in the United States and across the world. It affects individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their age, gender, or social status. The following are 57 alcohol abuse statistics that highlight the extent of this problem:

Top 8 Key Alcohol Abuse Statistics

  1. Approximately 14.5 million adults (aged 18 and older) in the United States had alcohol use disorder in 2019.
  2. Alcohol misuse accounted for an estimated 95,000 deaths in the United States in 2018.
  3. Alcohol use is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, after tobacco use and poor diet/physical inactivity.
  4. In 2019, an estimated 401,000 adolescents aged 12-17 had alcohol use disorder.
  5. Alcohol abuse costs the United States economy over $249 billion each year.
  6. In 2019, an estimated 14.5 million adults aged 18 and older in the United States had alcohol use disorder, which is approximately 5.8% of this population.
  7. Among high school students, drinking alcohol and binge drinking has decreased since the late 1990s. However, in 2019, around one in four high school students reported recent alcohol use.
  8. Men are more likely to engage in heavy drinking than women. In fact, men accounted for about three-quarters of deaths due to alcohol misuse in the United States in 2018.

Alcohol Use & Abuse Statistics in the US

  • About 26.45% of people aged 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.
  • In 2019, an estimated 9.7 million men and 5.0 million women had alcohol use disorder.
  • Nearly one-third of driving fatalities in the United States involve alcohol-impaired driving.
  • Among adults who had alcohol use disorder in the past year, only about 6.3% received treatment for their condition.
  • The prevalence of alcohol use disorder is highest among adults aged 18 to 29, with an estimated 9.0% having this condition in 2019.
  • Pregnant women who drink alcohol put their unborn babies at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). In fact, about 1 in every 13 pregnant women who drink will have a child with FASDs.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a range of health problems, including liver disease, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, and various types of cancer.
  • Alcohol misuse can also contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

These statistics highlight the widespread impact that alcohol use and abuse has on individuals and society as a whole. It is important to address this issue through prevention efforts and access to effective treatment options for those struggling with alcoholism.

Death Rates in Alcohol Abuse

  • An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • Approximately one-third of all driving fatalities involve drunk drivers. In fact, someone is injured or killed by a drunk driver every two minutes in the United States.
  • According to a study published by JAMA Psychiatry, heavy drinking among Americans increased by nearly 30% between 2005 and 2012.
  • The majority of individuals who suffer from alcohol use disorder never receive treatment for their problem. In fact, only about one out of every ten people with this condition seek professional help.
  • Nearly half of all liver disease deaths are attributed to alcohol consumption. This makes it the leading cause of liver disease among Americans.
  • According to research conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), college students who consume large amounts of alcohol are more likely to experience academic problems such as missing class or getting lower grades than those who don't drink heavily.

Causes of Alcohol-Related Deaths

  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a wide range of health problems, including liver disease, cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
  • In 2018, over 26% of all alcohol-related deaths were due to liver disease.
  • About 16% of all alcohol-related deaths in the United States are caused by accidents or injuries related to alcohol use.
  • In addition to liver disease, excessive drinking can also lead to pancreatitis and other digestive system disorders.
  • Alcohol abuse is a major contributor to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. In fact, over 15% of all suicide deaths are attributed to alcohol use.
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which can cause birth defects and developmental disabilities in children. In the United States alone, an estimated 1 in every 100 babies is born with FAS.

Alcohol Abuse Demographic Statistics

  • Men are more likely than women to develop alcohol use disorder.
  • In 2019, 7.9% of adults aged 18 and older had alcohol use disorder. The prevalence was higher among men (10.5%) than women (5.3%).
  • Alcohol use disorder is more common among adults aged 18-29 (14.4%) than among adults aged 30-44 (9.5%), 45-64 (5.9%), or over 65 (1.6%).
  • Native Americans and Alaska Natives have the highest rates of heavy alcohol use and alcohol-related deaths among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
  • In 2019, 14.8% of adults aged 18-25 drank heavily (binge drinking on five or more days in the past month) compared to 6.8% of adults aged 26 or older.
  • Among adolescents, alcohol use is most common among 12th graders (58.7%), followed by 10th graders (42.9%) and 8th graders (17.2%).

Binge Drinking Prevalence Among College Students

  • According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 55% of college students aged 18-22 reported drinking alcohol in the past month, and about 1 in 4 college students reported binge drinking in the past month.
  • Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men within a two-hour period.
  • Among college students who drink alcohol, about half report binge drinking.
  • Approximately 1,825 college students die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
  • An estimated 696,000 students aged 18-24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking each year.

Alcohol Abuse by Age

  • In 2019, an estimated 14.4% of adults aged 18-29 had alcohol use disorder, which is the highest prevalence among all age groups.
  • Alcohol use disorder was less common among adults aged 30-44 (9.5%), 45-64 (5.9%), and over 65 (1.6%).
  • Among adolescents, alcohol use is most common among 12th graders (58.7%), followed by 10th graders (42.9%) and 8th graders (17.2%).
  • In terms of heavy drinking, young adults aged 18-25 have the highest prevalence, with an estimated 14.8% reporting heavy drinking in the past month.
  • Heavy drinking is less common among adults aged 26 or older, with only 6.8% reporting heavy drinking in the past month.

It's clear that alcohol abuse affects individuals of all ages, but certain age groups are at a higher risk than others. Understanding these statistics can help us develop targeted prevention and treatment interventions to address this widespread problem.

Alcohol Abuse by Gender

  • Men are more likely to engage in heavy drinking than women. In fact, men accounted for about three-quarters of deaths due to alcohol misuse in the United States in 2018.
  • In 2019, an estimated 10.5% of adult men aged 18 and older had alcohol use disorder, compared to 5.3% of adult women.
  • Among adolescents aged 12-17, boys are more likely to have alcohol use disorder than girls (6.3% versus 2.7%, respectively).
  • Men are more likely to binge drink than women. In 2019, an estimated 23.8% of adult men reported binge drinking in the past month, compared to 14.2% of adult women.
  • Women who drink heavily are at a higher risk for liver disease and other alcohol-related health problems than men who drink heavily.
  • While men have higher rates of alcohol use disorder overall, research suggests that women may be more vulnerable to certain negative consequences of heavy drinking such as liver damage and cognitive impairment.

These statistics highlight important gender differences in the prevalence and impact of alcohol abuse. Addressing these differences through targeted prevention and treatment efforts can help reduce the harm caused by excessive drinking for both men and women alike.

Alcohol Abuse by Race

  • Native Americans and Alaska Natives have the highest rates of heavy alcohol use and alcohol-related deaths among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. In fact, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 12.8% of Native Americans and Alaska Natives aged 12 or older reported heavy alcohol use in the past month, compared to 6.3% of all adults in the U.S.
  • White individuals are more likely to report binge drinking than individuals from other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. binge drinks about four times a month, and white adults account for more than half of all binge drinks.
  • African American adults have a lower prevalence of alcohol use disorder compared to other racial/ethnic groups, but they are more likely to experience serious consequences such as liver disease or death from alcohol-related causes. In fact, according to a study published in Alcohol Research & Health, African Americans have a mortality rate from alcoholic liver disease that is twice as high as that of whites.
  • Hispanic adults have lower rates of heavy drinking than non-Hispanic white adults, but they are more likely to experience negative consequences such as hospitalization due to alcohol use disorder. According to data from the National Latino and Asian American Study, Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to report heavy drinking (13% vs. 25%), but they were more likely to report experiencing alcohol-related problems (27% vs. 19%).
  • Asian Americans have lower rates of alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder than other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. However, those who do drink heavily may be at higher risk for certain health problems such as liver cancer. According to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Asian Americans have a higher incidence of liver cancer compared to other racial/ethnic groups, and heavy alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for liver cancer.

Alcohol Use Health and Safety Statistics

  • Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 10% of deaths among working-age adults (20-64 years) in the United States.
  • Chronic heavy drinking increases the risk of liver disease, cancer, and pancreatitis.
  • Drinking during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which can result in physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities.
  • In 2018, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 29% of all motor vehicle traffic deaths in the United States.
  • In 2019, an estimated 14.5 million adults had alcohol use disorder and a co-occurring mental health disorder.
  • Alcohol use is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes in the United States.

Alcohol Use Treatment Statistics

  • In 2019, only 7.2% of adults with alcohol use disorder received treatment.
  • The most common form of treatment for alcohol use disorder is behavioral therapy, followed by medication-assisted treatment.
  • In 2019, 3.6% of adolescents aged 12-17 received treatment for alcohol use disorder.
  • The cost of alcohol treatment varies widely depending on the type of treatment and the location, but can range from $1,000 to $30,000 or more.

Conclusion

Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that affects millions of people across the United States. The statistics presented in this article highlight the prevalence of alcohol use disorder, binge drinking, and alcohol-related health problems among different demographic groups.

It's clear that more needs to be done to address this issue, including increasing access to treatment for those struggling with alcohol addiction and implementing targeted prevention efforts to reduce heavy drinking among high-risk populations.

By working together to raise awareness about the harms of excessive alcohol consumption and providing support for those in need, we can make progress towards reducing the devastating impact of alcohol abuse on individuals, families, and communities.

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