V. Key Issues: Population Health >> E. Health Promotion >> Alcohol Abuse (last updated 1.17.18)
- Alcohol abuse in the U.S. adds $30 billion to health costs and imposes an additional $205 billion in non-health costs related to automobile accidents, crime, lost work productivity etc. (NIDA 2012).
External Costs of Excess Alcohol Use
According to a 2017 Brookings literature synthesis:
- Parry et al. (2009) estimate the externality at $68 per alcohol gallon in 2000 or about $45 per proof gallon in 2015 (about $2.50 per six pack). Parry, Ian W.H., Ramanan Laxminaraya, and Sarah E. West, Fiscal and Externality Rationales for Alcohol Taxes. Resources for the Future Discussion Paper, April 2009.
- Manning et al. (1989) puts externality at $0.48/oz in 1986 or about $58 per proof gallon in 2015; Manning, William G., Emmet B. Keeler, Joseph P. Newhouse, Elizabeth M. Sloss and Jeffrey Wasserman, The Taxes of Sin: Do Smokers and Drinkers Pay Their Way? Journal of the American Medical Association, March 1989, Vol. 261, No. 11, 1604-1609.
- Public Health Law Research. Alcohol Policy Information System. APIS provides detailed information on a wide variety of alcohol-related policies in the United States at both State and Federal levels. Detailed, state-by-state, information is available for 35 different policies. APIS also provides a variety of informational resources of interest to alcohol policy researchers and others involved with alcohol policy issues.
- The 18th Amendment, ratified in January 1919, banned the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States. The Volstead Act, which spelled out the rules for enforcement, passed shortly thereafter, and Prohibition itself went into effect on Jan. 1, 1920. The amendment was repealed in 1933 by ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, the only instance in United States history that a constitutional amendment was repealed.
- Because prohibition was so widely ignored, federal officials tried a different kind of enforcement. “They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.”
- According to German Lopez at Vox.com, “The simplest explanation is that 12-step treatment and AA meetings work for some people but not for others. J. Scott Tonigan, a researcher at the University of New Mexico Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA), said the research supports a “rule of thirds”: About a third of people maintain recovery from alcohol addiction due to 12-step treatment, another third get something out of the treatment but not enough for full recovery, and another third get nothing at all.”
- Federal Agencies
- National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI). World’s largest resource for alcohol and drug information; includes PREVline (forum for exchanging information about substance abuse prevention) and NCADI’s Prevention primer(reference for prevention practitioners).
- National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAA)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Agency in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to promoting public and private prevention and treatment services so they are available and accessible.
- Treatment Resources
- Alcoholtreatment.net. An organization connecting people seeking treatment to the resources they need; site includes descriptions of nearly 3 dozen different treatment types and list of alcohol resources.
- rehabcenter.net. An organization connecting people seeking treatment to the resources they need. It has a library of educational articles which can benefit residents both in the US and internationally.
- Advocacy Groups
- Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs