However, the dangers of alcohol abuse go beyond college kids getting too drunk at parties. An estimated 14.4 million Americans ages 18 and older had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2018 according to NSDUH.3 Across the nation, 26.45% individuals 18 and older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month (typically 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in about 2 hours) while 6.6% engaged in heavy alcohol use (binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month) in the past month.3
Each year, an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually and in 2014 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31% of overall driving fatalities (9,967 deaths).3 Unfortunately, these deaths could have been avoided, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.3
Problematic alcohol use has taken a toll on our economy. Drinking-related costs reached an estimated $249 billion in the U.S. in 2010, with binge drinking accounting for three-quarters of this economic burden.3 And $2 of every $5 were paid by federal, state, and local governments, meaning all Americans are paying for excessive alcohol use—no matter your level of consumption.4
These numbers suggest that problematic alcohol use continues to plague our society, and awareness about addiction and its harmful effects on our lives, is necessary in order to protect our loved ones and selves.