Alcohol’s Effects on Behavior and Society

  • Trauma — Alcohol can impair motor coordination, balance, attention, perception, and judgment. These effects may play a major role is serious and fatal traumatic injuries. Alcohol abuse may increase the risk or repeated injuries.(1)
  • Burns and Fires — Approximately 50 percent of the adults who die in house fires have a high Blood Alcohol Content. Studies show that between 33 and 61 percent of persons who died as a result of burns were drinking.(1)
  • Water Safety — Boat passengers who drink alcohol are at increased risk of injury regardless of the drinking behavior of the boat operator. Alcohol impairs balance and motor function. As a result, a drinking passenger could be at risk for falling overboard even if the boat is drifting or is being operated safely.(1)
  • The Role of Alcohol in Violence — Approximately 50 percent of both victims and perpetrators of violence use alcohol. In recent studies, more than sixty percent of homicide offenders were drinking at the time of the offense. Alcohol represents a significant risk factor for husband-to-wife violence; and an estimated 30 percent of child abuse cases may involve alcohol.(1)
  • Traffic Crashes — Approximately 7 percent of all crashes and 41 percent of fatal crashes in 1996 involved alcohol use. About 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.(2)

(1) Source: Ninth Special Report to the U.S. Congress from the Secretary of Health & Human Services, Alcohol and Health, June 1997

(2) Traffic Safety Facts in 1996 – Alcohol U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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