Isn’t it odd how marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, yet it fails to cause nearly as much trouble as alcohol does? Having read our alcoholism statistics, you’ll be wondering why on earth the situation isn’t vice versa: alcohol to be extremely restricted, and marijuana fully and irrevocably legal!

Admittedly, alcohol is said to have some good qualities, so not all alcohol facts are depressing. When drunk in moderation, it does have some benefits for our health. Despite the fact that there is a clear indicator of how much is too much, we are all individuals and react to alcohol in a specific way. There are sex differences, and genetics is one of the crucial factors determining whether someone is likely to become an alcoholic.

10 Most Important Alcohol Facts and Statistics

  • One in 12 Americans suffers from alcohol use disorder.
  • 23.5 million US citizens are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
  • Alcohol abuse costs the US over $249 billion each year.
  • New Hampshire residents drink the most alcohol in the US.
  • Over 96% of alcoholics think they don’t need treatment.
  • The success rate of AA meetings is said to be between 8% and 12%.
  • Alcohol death statistics report 29 people die every day in road accidents involving a DUI driver.
  • Over 12% of undergraduate students mix alcohol and prescription drugs.
  • Alcohol abuse is the third largest cause of death in the US.
  • On a global level, alcohol consumption grew by 70% over the last three decades.

Now, let’s take a closer look, but be warned – you may not like what you’re about to read.

General Facts About Alcohol

Alcoholism Statistics - General Facts

1. Humans have been consuming alcohol for at least 9,000 years.

(Drug-Free World)

The earliest evidence of the fermented beverage was found in China, and it was made sometime around 7000 BC.

2. Alcohol can be found responsible for causing over 60 medical conditions.

(Alcohol Change UK)

Not only the notorious cirrhosis of the liver, but various types of cancer (breast, stomach, liver, mouth, throat), high blood pressure, and depression can be triggered by alcohol.

3. Alcohol history facts: the Prohibition was a complete and utter failure.

(CATO Institute)

How the prohibition backfired is a neverending source of inspiration for the cinema industry.  Contrary to the original expectations, in the period between 1920-1933, crime, alcohol abuse, corruption, and social problems increased greatly.

4. Alcohol is good for your heart if consumed in moderation.

(WebMD)

One of the most interesting facts about alcohol is that when it’s taken in moderation, alcohol can lower your chances of a heart attack, stroke, of clogged arteries. This is probably due to the fact that small amounts of alcohol regulate “good” cholesterol levels (HDL). Nevertheless, excessive drinking increases the risks of heart disease.

5. Alcohol boosts appetite and improves sex life.

(WebMD)

Research shows that regular drinkers have greater sexual satisfaction and increased appetite. Also, they are more keen on exercising. Once again, these facts refer only to moderate alcohol consumption.

6. According to statistics on alcohol consumption, an average American drinks more than they should.

(Esquire)

What is considered as the “healthy” amount is 2.1 gallons of ethanol alcohol per year (per individual). However, only nine states were below that level in 2016.

7. The FDA does not regulate alcohol.

(FDA) (Hops&Vine)

The regulating body can be in charge of some beer or wine labels, but the intoxicating beverages are managed by another institution. Alcoholic drinks are regulated by the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). This is also one of the reasons why alcohol nutrition facts are missing from the labels.

8. Americans are getting fat because of alcohol.

(Vox)

An average glass of wine or beer contains 150 calories, but they are often deemed negligible. Consequently, an average American takes in 400 extra calories per day from alcohol only. Over the time period, it adds up more than expected.

9. The success rate of AA meetings is said to be between 8% and 12%.

(AAC)

According to one survey, 22% of AA members managed to stay sober for over 20 years, while 27% remained sober for less than one year.

10. Alcohol is a drug.

(VerywellMind)

By definition, a drug is any substance which has mind-altering properties, so alcohol clearly falls under that definition. Nicotine is a drug as well, even though its hazardous effects are not immediately evident.

Alcohol Consumption Statistics

Alcoholism Statistics - Consumption

11. Moderate drinking implies one or two drinks per day (if an adult is healthy and old enough).

(Mayo Clinic)

One drink for women of all ages and men older than 65, and two drinks if a man is 65 or younger. By the way, one drink equals 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of distilled spirits.

12. Global stats on alcohol say that 48% of the population older than 15 claims they have never tasted it.

(ADT) (Quit Alcohol)

Bear in mind that alcohol is illegal in the following countries: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Kuwait, Sudan, Yemen, and partially in Pakistan, UAE, and India.

13. Moldova has the highest alcohol consumption in the world according to alcohol use statistics.

(Statista)

Its citizens drink almost 4 gallons of pure alcohol annually. In contrast, there is Kuwait, with a mere 0.001 gallon of alcohol drunk per year.

14. 86.4% of Americans admitted drinking alcohol at some point in their lives.

(NIAAA)

According to a survey from 2015, almost 90% of adult US citizens reported drinking, while 70% said they had drunk it during the previous year. 56% had done it the previous month.

15. New Hampshire residents drink the most alcohol in the US based on alcohol consumption by state statistics.

(Esquire)

On average, they drink 4.76 gallons per capita per year and seem to have no competition. The runner-up, Delaware, consumes 3.72 gallons per capita. 

16. On a global level, alcohol consumption grew by 70% over the last three decades.

(Statista)

This means that the consumption leaped from 5.4 billion to 9.2 billion gallons in the period between 1990 and 2017. People around the world have started drinking more, especially in low and middle-income countries. China, India, and Vietnam are leading the way in this category.

17. Binge drinking is classified as drug abuse.

(VerywellMind)

Therefore, if you drink four (women) or five (men) drinks, or more than that in one sitting, this is considered substance abuse.

Alcohol Abuse Facts and Statistics

Alcoholism Statistics - Abuse

18. One in 12 Americans suffers from alcohol use disorder.

(Gateway Foundation)

Don’t be fooled by the term. Alcohol use disorder is just another name for alcohol addiction, preferred by the physicians. 

19. Alcohol abuse costs the US over $249 billion each year.

(VerywellMind)

Binge drinking accounts for 70% of the costs and the quarter trillion figure is said to be understated. Some states have extreme expenses in this respect. For example, North Dakota had to deal with $488 million, while California’s expenses in this regard total over $35 billion, bringing the average cost per state to $3.5 billion annually.

20. There are 15.1 million adults and 623,000 adolescents in the USA struggling with AUD.

(Alcohol.org)

In other words, almost 16 million Americans are alcoholics. Around 56% are reported to be drinking alcohol once a month. Alcohol consumption is a common practice, but it gets out of control for millions of Americans.

21. Shocking alcoholism statistics: over 95% of alcoholics think they don’t need the treatment.

(Alcohol.org

According to a 2013 national survey, about 95.5% of the people who failed to receive the treatment (even though they needed it) agreed they did not think it was necessary. Such an answer is mostly due to the stereotypical image of an alcoholic. If one does not match the picture, it’s easier to live in denial.

22. About 20% of college students classify as AUD cases.

(NIAAA)

Binge drinking is very much widespread, and college alcohol facts show that about 1 in 4 college students admitted missing classes or obtaining poor grades due to alcohol drinking. Even worse, 1,825 students who are between 18 and 24 die each year in alcohol-related accidents.

23. There are 5 subtypes of alcoholics.

(NIH)

They are the Young Adult subtype, Young Antisocial subtype, Functional subtype, Intermediate Familial subtype, and Chronic Severe subtype.

24. Alcohol death statistics indicate that 3 out of 4 people who die from alcohol poisoning are men.

(CDC)

In other words, that means one person dies every 50 minutes due to alcohol abuse.

25. The number of annual sexual assaults or date rapes involving alcohol intoxication: 97,000.

(NIAAA)

That is just the tip of the iceberg. Alcohol abuse statistics have estimated that an additional 600,000 students are assaulted in a non-sexual way by an alcohol-impaired student every year.

26. Alcohol abuse is the third largest cause of death in the US.

(HuffPost)

80,000 lives are lost every year due to alcoholism and alcohol abuse, which places it in third place by mortality rates. Heart disease comes first, while cancer statistics show that the disease is in second place.

27. There are nearly three times more male than female alcoholics.

(ProjectKnow)

However, alcohol stats show women have a higher possibility of experiencing trouble such as abusive relationships or assaults.

28. 25% of women dealing with an eating disorder have AUD. 

(ProjectKnow)

This comes as no surprise as eating disorders can be a type of mental disorder, which tends to accompany substance abuse.

29. Alcohol abuse was to blame for almost half of all cirrhosis deaths in 2013.

(NIAAA)

During that year, 47.9% of deaths were alcohol-related. The highest death rate (76.5%) was among people aged 25-34.

30. Alcohol poisoning statistics indicate that 3 out of 4 people who die from alcohol poisoning are men.

(Addiction Aide)

If we look at the stats, men seem to be more prone to addiction than women, regardless if it’s alcohol, opioids, or some other drug.

31. Alcohol worsens depression in the long term.

(AAC)

While some people expect a short-term energy boost after taking alcohol, it can only intensify depression symptoms (insomnia, fatigue, aches, etc.).

32. Alcohol withdrawal death rate is 20% (if left untreated).

(Medscape)

Quitting alcohol completely is not recommended by physicians as it can have a deadly outcome, apart from some other complications which occur during withdrawal such as infections, gastrointestinal bleeding, pancreatitis, liver failure, etc.

Drugs and Alcohol Abuse Statistics and Facts

Alcoholism Statistics - Drugs

33. Drinking alcohol is more damaging than using marijuana.

(MedicalNewsToday)

With all the latest research and statistics on marijuana, the public may finally come to realize alcohol is more harmful. According to one study, the damage it causes to the brain regarding white and grey matter is significant, whereas marijuana had no impact.

34. Teenage alcohol abuse statistics report alcohol is deadlier than all other drugs.

(City Vision University)

Alcohol contributes to the three leading causes of death for the population who are 15-24 year old: suicide, homicide, and accidents.

35. In 2017, 1 out of 8 adult Americans was struggling with drug and alcohol disorders at the same time.

(AAD) (Alcohol Rehab Guide)

If a person abuses alcohol, they have a higher risk of abusing another drug and getting addicted, so the statistics are hardly surprising.

36. Alcohol poisoning facts say combining alcohol and marijuana increases the risk.

(Alcohol.org)

It also increases the risk of overdosing on THC. However, no one has died of marijuana overdose to date, whereas alcohol poisoning is life-threatening.

37. Genetics are said to be responsible for around 50% of cases of alcoholism and drug addiction.

(AAD)

Overall, genetics accounts for 40 to 60% of the risk of becoming addicted to a substance. Of course, there are other reasons that contribute to it, such as the environment.

38. 23.5 million US citizens are addicted to drugs and alcohol.

(Drug-Free)

Alcoholism statistics and drug addiction stats tell us about almost the whole population of Texas is struggling. What is even more shocking is the fact that only 11% of them are undergoing some kind of treatment.

39. 12.1% of undergraduate students mix alcohol and prescription drugs.

(AAC)

These are horrible drug and alcohol statistics. Doing this is extremely dangerous, especially if those drugs are Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, or Morphine. The combination can end in a coma or death.

40. Even though they are a rising cannabis niche demographic, seniors are less likely to abuse alcohol and marijuana.

(Public Health Ontario)

Adults who are between 18-49 years old are more likely to get involved even though Baby Boomers have become keen cannabis consumers.

Conclusion

Alcohol facts may be interesting and we are prone to taking alcohol for granted. The common social lubricant is widely accepted in most regions of the world. It is not to say that alcohol is the same as poison, as it has some good qualities besides making us less anxious and more relaxed. However, alcoholism statistics undoubtedly show that a huge number of people out there needs help much more than they realize. Hopefully, society and the government will react with innovative and sound strategies before the situation becomes even worse.

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