Facts and Information on Alcohol Use and Addiction

  • How does alcohol affect your body?  This easy to read slideshow from WebMD breaks it down (10/13/2019).
  • Many women drink alcohol to relax, but new research suggests that not drinking alcohol improves mental health outcomes for women.  The new study comes as many Americans are trying out an alcohol-free life as part of the “sober-curious” movement (10/16/2019).
  • In 2015, two Princeton University economists reported an unexpected increase in rates of death for certain groups of US citizens.  The rise in deaths for middle aged Americans, both men and women, was driven primarily by drug and alcohol overdoses, suicides and liver disease.  The increased morality for this group could ultimately be traced back to declining quality of life – reduced physical and mental health, increased chronic pain, financial difficulties, and serious mental illness.  The researchers referred to this increased mortality as “deaths of despair”. ( 
  • Binge drinking is on the rise nationally (19% in 2018 up from 17.6% in 2015), but some states have higher rates of excessive drinking than others.  Newsweek reports that Illinois ranks 7th among the states plus the District of Columbia for excessive drinking. 21.4% of Illinois residents (16.4% of females, 26.8% of males) have drank to excess in the last year.
  • A former university president gives 3 big reasons why college stadiums are the wrong environments to sell alcohol (Dec. 1, 2018).
  • Did you know that alcohol abuse causes 3.3 million deaths worldwide each year?  Take a look at this easy to read infographic from the World Health Organization (2018).
  • Research linking breast cancer to alcohol consumption has been well established for many decades.  Yes, few people know the risk.  Read the full Mother Goose article which summarizes the research and the alcohol industry’s efforts to suppress it.
  • U.S. adults consumed more than 17 billion binge drinks in 2015, or about 470 binge drinks per binge drinker, according to a first-of-its-kind study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC researchers found that 1 in 6, or 37 million, adults binge drink about once a week, consuming an average of seven drinks per binge. Read the CDC article here (March 16, 2018).
  • How much damage does excessive drinking really do?  Take a look at this helpful infographic created by University of Illinois at Chicago’s Online Master of Science in Health Informatics degree program (2018) to show the variety of detrimental effects done by excess drinking.
  • A large organization of cancer doctors has issued a call to action to minimize alcohol consumption.  Read the position statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) of how risk of head, neck, esophageal, colorectal and female breast cancers, in particular, increase with alcohol consumption (11/8/2017).
  • University life often includes alcohol use, which can sometimes cause harm. Yet harm can also extend beyond the drinker, such as “secondhand harm” that is caused by intoxicated people: accidents or domestic, physical, or sexual violence; interrupted sleep or property destruction; and arguments, problems with relationships, or financial problems (7/20/17).
  • Use this CDC Fact Sheet “Alcohol Use and Your Health” to understand the short and long term health effects of excessive alcohol use (2015).
  • There are many possible prevention strategies to reduce the number of sexual assaults on American college campuses.  But perhaps no prevention strategy has as much potential as exploring the relationship between campus sexual assaults and alcohol (December 2, 2015).
  • Smokers with a history of problem drinking are at at greater risk of relapsing into alcoholism, than those who quit smoking.  The research done by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health is summarized in Recovering Alcoholics: Quit Smoking to Stay Sober (Oct. 1, 2015).
  • The legal drinking age is tied to high school dropout rates. The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs compared dropout rates in the 1970s and 1980s, when the legal drinking age was lowered in many states to 18, to dropout rates since the federal legislation returned the legal drinking age to 21 nationwide.  The results – high school drop rates were 4 to 13% higher when the legal drinking age was lowered to 18.
  • Alcohol is still the deadliest drug.  Surveys conducted in 2014 show that alcohol remains, by far, the drug most associated with violent crime.  40% of those incarcerated for violent crimes had been drinking at the time they committed these offenses.


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