An estimated 18 million adults in the United States have significant alcohol-related problems. 10% of adults, 20% men and 10% women, can be classified as heavy drinkers. That is, they consume an average of two or more drinks per day. Combined with the more moderate drinking of another 60% of the population, the consumption of alcohol in this country contributes to some astounding statistics:

  • The Surgeon General estimates that alcohol is involved in 200,000 deaths in this country per year - 10% of the U.S. annual mortality
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 100,000 deaths per year can be attributed directly to alcohol
  • There are more than one million annual alcohol-related hospital discharges in this country
  • Half of all traffic crash deaths are alcohol related

"Fact Sheets - Alcohol Use and Your Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Adults, of course, are not the only ones who suffer from the effects of alcohol consumption. Driving under the influence is the No. 1 killer of American teenagers. Maternal consumption results in a variety of alcohol related birth defects in 4,000 California newborns each year and 36,000 children nationwide.

"Teen Drinking and Driving." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Oct. 2012
"Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Research at the NICHD." Alcohol & Drug-Related Birth Defects Research at the NICHD

Effects of alcohol on your body

alcohol on the body

NonAlcoholsim. Effect of Alcohol on the Organs of Human Body. Digital image

Serious health consequences can also result from non-alcoholic, episodic drinking. Because of the narrow range between the anesthetic and lethal dose of alcohol, toxic reactions leading to death can occur when large amounts are consumed at one time. The potential effect of alcohol on other depressant drugs can also be fatal when combined. The most common negative health consequences from occasional drinking are trauma related, however, and involve both the drinker and non-drinking bystanders and victims.