Alcohol Abuse Statistics: The Surprising Numbers

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : December 19 , 
| 4 Sources

The statistics on alcohol abuse and its cost to society, the family and health make for sobering reading

Alcohol, a substance with dependence-producing properties, has been prevalently used in a lot of cultures for centuries, and the alcohol abuse statistics in the US alone is very alarming. The damaging use of alcohol brings about a large disease, economic, and social burden in societies.

The detrimental use of alcohol could likewise result in harm and injury to other people, like family members, friends, colleagues and strangers. Moreover, the damaging use of alcohol leads to a significant health, economic, and social burden on society in general. 

Alcohol abuse statistics reveal a disturbing picture of a nation seemingly drinking itself to death.

alcohol abuse statisticsPhoto by David Monje

(To understand the difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism read drinking problems)

Sounds a bit strong?

Well maybe it is, but the figures make for depressing reading.

However, as statistics go there are some jaw-dropping numbers in relation to alcohol abuse.

We have collected what we think are some of the more shocking below, which illustrate the impact of alcohol abuse on all areas of life.

Statistics on alcohol abuse and.....


  • In 2005 the total cost of alcohol dependence to the U.S. economy was $220 billion.
  • The cost to business of alcohol problems is $186 billion a year (on average).
  • The total cost to society of teenage drinking is about $52.8 billion.
  • Treating alcoholism and its effects on health, costs more than treating cancer.
  • Addiction costs every American citizen $1000 per year.
  • 4 in 10 prisoners say drink was a factor in their crime.
  • Alcohol is the number one drug problem in America and the U.K.
  • One-third of all suicides, one-half of all murders, one-half of domestic violence cases and one-quarter of all emergency hospital admissions are alcohol related.
  • Globally, alcohol abuse was the fifth leading risk factor for disability and premature death in 2010. Among individuals between the 15 and 49 years old, it is the first. In the age group of 20–39 years old, an estimated 25 percent of the total deaths are attributed to alcohol.

Alcohol abuse statistics and.....


  • Drinking excessively over time may cause pancreatitis. This is an extremely painful condition and results in excessive weight loss and can lead to death.
  • statistics on alcoholism
  • Drinking too much can result in cancer. Cancer of the throat, larynx, liver, colon, kidneys, rectum, and esophagus.
  • Other health conditions excessive alcohol consumption can cause are immune system irregularities, brain damage, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and alcoholic cirrhosis.
  • Here is a scary statistic- 1 in 5 alcoholics who try to stop drinking without medical help die due to alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is passed from a drink dependent mother to her unborn child. It causes mental disabilities, hyperactivity, delayed growth and many other problems for the child.
  • The number one killer of teens is car accidents involving drink. There is also a strong connection between alcohol and three other major causes of death among teenagers; murder, suicide and drowning.
  • 95% of alcoholics die from the alcoholism disease and, on average, they lose 26 years from their normal life expectancy.
  • 25-40% of all beds in hospitals in the U.S. are used to treat conditions related to excessive drinking.
  • Children of alcoholics spend more time in hospital than children of clean parents. (about 29% longer).
  • An estimated 24,110 deaths in the United States were caused by alcoholic liver disease.

Alcohol abuse statistics and.....


  • 43% of adults have a relation, who is, or was and alcoholic.
  • Elderly alcoholism is a major problem. 3 million citizens older than 60 abuse drink.
  • Many more males in the U.S.A (9.8 million) are dependent on drink, than females (3.9 million).
  • 6.6 million minors in the U.S.A live with at least one alcoholic parent.
  • Happily married people are much less likely to have drinking issues over their lifetime (8.9%) than those who are not married (29.2%).
  • Around 25% of children experience alcoholism in their family before they are 18.
  • Alcohol abuse is becoming more common in the elderly as the population ages.
  • People who have divorced or separated are more likely to have issues with drink.
  • Generally it takes 15 years of drinking for a person to become drink dependent, however, this process is quicker if he/she began drinking at an earlier age.
  • It is estimated that 40% of alcoholism is passed from generation to generation through genes. 60% is a result of environment.
  • Approximately 500,000 children between the ages of nine and 12 are drink dependent.
  • Not surprisingly people addicted to drink are more likely to be divorced than those who are not.
  • 11000 underage young people try alcohol for the first time EVERY DAY.
  • Teen alcohol abuse statistics reveal that the earlier someone starts to drink the more problems they will have. For example behavioral problems, poor academic performance, cross- dependence etc. When they become adults they are more likely to get involved in crime and violence. A person who drinks before the age of 15 is 4 times more likely to become addicted to drink than someone who did not.

Alcohol abuse statistics and.....


  • Drunk drivers are responsible for 50% of people killed on the road.
  • Nearly 40% of deaths in industry and 47% of injuries in the workplace have drink as a contributing factor.
  • More than one third of pedestrians killed are drunk.
  • In 2016, 10,497 individuals died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, totaling to 28% of all traffic-related fatalities in the US.
  • Of the 1,233 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2016, 214 or 17% involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • In 2016, over 1 million drivers were arrested for driving even under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s approximately one percent of all the 111 million self-reported episodes of impaired driving among U.S. adults every year.
  • Drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle accidents.

Are you Ready to Quit Alcohol Abuse?If you are ready to put the negative impacts of alcoholism behind you, please reach out to a treatment provider today.

If you found this page helpful, then the following may be of interest to you:

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol Facts and Statistics. October 2020.

World Health Organization. Alcohol. September 21, 2018.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Use.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Impaired Driving: Get the Facts.

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