In The Know Zone



  • Alcoholism affects more people than diabetes, lung cancer, breast cancer, or heart attacks, and is about as common as hypertension (high blood pressure.) (1)
  • Last year, there were 196,277 emergency room visits as a result of using alcohol with other drugs. (8)
  • Every year, about 12,000 people in the U.S. die from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. (2)

Prevalence of Alcoholism

  • Approximately 15% of all drinkers, or 1 in 7, will develop an alcohol abuse or dependence ("alcoholism") problem. (2)
  • Every day, more than 700,000 people in the United States receive alcoholism treatment. (2)
  • More than 40 percent of those who start drinking at age 15 or younger develop alcohol dependence. (2)
  • 24.5% of those who start drinking at age 17 or younger develop alcohol dependence. (2)
  • 10% of those who start drinking at age 21 or older develop alcohol dependence. (2)

Economic Costs

  • The economic cost of alcohol abuse is about $148 billion per year, including medical costs, lost productivity, crime, and losses resulting from premature death. (1)
  • Only 45% of the economic costs of alcohol abuse are paid by alcohol abusers themselves. 55% of the economic costs are paid by the government, rate-payers for private health and life insurance, and victims of crime and car crashes. (1)


  • Alcohol is a factor in nearly 40 percent of violent crimes. (5)
  • Based on victim perceptions, about 2.7 million violent crimes occurred each year in which victims were certain that the offender had been drinking. (5)
  • About 60% of mentally ill prisoners and 51% of other inmates in State prison were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their current offense. (5)

Underage Drinkers

  • Eight young people a day die in alcohol-related crashes. (1)
  • Alcohol kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined. It is a factor in the three leading causes of death among 15-24 year olds: accidents, homicides, and suicides. (2)
  • Over 33% of all deaths for people aged 15-20 result from motor vehicle crashes. In 1996, almost two out of five of these motor vehicle fatalities involved alcohol. (4)
  • Students with GPAs of D or F drink three times as much as those who earn A's. (1)
  • Youth who drink are 7.5 times more likely to use other illicit drugs and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink. (1)


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse
  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control
  4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  5. U.S. Dept. of Justice
  6. Journal of Substance Abuse
  7. Monitoring the Future 8 -- Drug Abuse Warning Network

In The Know: Substance Abuse Pamphlet/ DVD Package
In the Know: Alcohol, Straight Facts, Serious Dangers Pamphlet
In The Know: Substance Abuse DVD Package