Often times, people get caught up in the glitz and glamour of alcohol. Cocktails for every occasion, drinks that smell good and look pretty, and the fact that alcohol is a drug is promptly forgotten. That's why once a year it's good to remind people about the dangers and health implications associated with alcohol.
April is alcohol awareness month. This year's theme is "For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction." It actually shocked me when I read that Alcohol Awareness Month has been in effect since 1987. What?! Where was I? Granted I was two years old in 1987, but I was sober last April and still somehow missed this important celebration. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says Alcohol Awareness Month is designed to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism. They reach out to the American public with information about alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery. This is a movement I can get behind.
Alcohol has negatively impacted my own life, and it's up to me to spread the message of strength, love, and hope that sobriety and recovery can bring. If you or anyone you know is still suffering in silence, you don't have to. There is help available.
To better educate you about the dangers of alcohol, I've complied 15 shocking statistics for Alcohol Awareness Month.
1. 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use. (CDC)
2. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. (CDC)
3. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications affecting every organ in your body, including your brain. Additionally, it can damage your emotional stability, finances, career, impact your family, friends and the people you work with. (NCAAD)
4. Women who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. These activities increase the risks of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. (CDC)
5. 100,000 persons die each year from alcohol-related causes: drinking and driving crashes, other accidents, falls, fires, alcohol-related homicides and suicides. (NCAAD)
6. Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person. (CDC)
7. Of the 3.9 million Americans who received treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2005, 2.5 million of them were treated for alcohol use. (Drug Free World)
8. Approximately 17 percent of men and 8 percent of women will be dependent on alcohol in their lifetime. (NIAAA)
9. Because of the astounding 80,000 deaths that are related to alcohol abuse every year, alcohol abuse is the third highest cause of death in the U.S. (CDC)
10. 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. (NIAAA)
11. Approximately 7,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 16 take their first drink every day, which is a major problem because those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21. (Rehabs.com)
12. Excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. This amounts to about $1.90 per drink, or about $746 per person. (CDC)
13. Alcoholism includes the following four symptoms: craving, loss of control, physical dependence, and tolerance. (NCADD)
14. Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year -- that's more than all illegal drugs combined. (MADD)
15. 5.3 million adults −- 36 percent of those under correctional supervision at the time -− were drinking at the time of their conviction offense. (NCADD)
This post originally appeared on The Adventures of a Sober Señorita.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.