So I drink a little much, what’s the big deal?

Nearly 14 million Americans, one in every 13 adults, abuse alcohol or are alcoholic.

Fewer than 25% of those who need treatment get it in a given year.

Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes, the WHO said in its “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.” The harmful use of alcohol is especially fatal for younger age groups and alcohol is the world’s leading risk factor for death among males aged 15-59.

5% of all deaths from diseases of the circulatory system are attributed to alcohol.

15% of all deaths from diseases of the respiratory system are attributed to alcohol.

30% of all deaths from accidents caused by fire and flames are attributed to alcohol.

30% of all accidental drownings are attributed to alcohol.

30% of all suicides are attributed to alcohol.

40% of all deaths due to accidental falls are attributed to alcohol.

45% of all deaths in automobile accidents are attributed to alcohol.

60% of all homicides are attributed to alcohol.

Researchers determined that alcohol-related cancer death took away an average of 18 potential years from a person’s life. Those who had 1.5 drinks a day or less made up 30 percent of the reported deaths. 48 to 60 percent of the deaths were attributed to people who drank three or more drinks a day. Breast cancer was the most common type of drinking-related deaths in women. This form of cancer alone made up 15 percent of the alcohol-related deaths, amounting to 6,000 women annually. For men, mouth, throat and esophageal cancers were the most common alcohol-associated deaths, making up about 6,000 deaths annually.

Underage alcohol use is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined. Children who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence at some time in their lives compared with those who have their first drink at age 20 or older.

Some 75 percent of husbands or wives who abuse their spouses have been drinking prior to or at the time of the abuse. 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex.

Heavy alcohol consumption is a significant problem in the military, affecting both uniformed service members and their families. Service members often use alcohol to cope with stress, boredom, loneliness and the lack of other recreational activities. Underage service members or children of service members are not immune to this problem. There are an estimated 10.8 million underage drinkers in the United States, and given the increased levels of stress in the military, our young service members, and children of service members are commonly affected.

A study of Army soldiers screened 3 to 4 months after returning from deployment to Iraq showed that 27 percent met criteria for alcohol abuse and were at increased risk for related harmful behaviors (e.g., drinking and driving, using illicit drugs). And although soldiers frequently report alcohol concerns, few are referred to alcohol treatment.

Alcohol-related problems cost the U.S. economy an estimated $185 billion per year in lost productivity and earnings due to alcohol-related illness, premature death, and crime.

My name is Laurie and I am an alcoholic. In America alone, 100,000 people die annually from alcohol-related accidents and illnesses. That’s more than a statistic. That is 100,000 individuals with faces. 100,000 individuals with lives not fully lived. 100,000 individuals grieved by mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children. Every year.

I am not a statistic.

(Numbers cited here came from a number of sources gleaned from a quick internet search. I attempted to choose those from more reliable sources. It’s not a research paper and I’m sorry, but I didn’t cite direct sources.)

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