Get the Facts–Alcohol

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  • beer is poured from a bottle into a glassAn estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year. Alcohol use is the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. (First is tobacco-caused deaths and second is poor diet and physical inactivity.)

Drinking during teen years may interfere with normal brain development.

  • Based on data from 2006-1010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 4,358 young people under age 21 each year.
  • Research has shown that long-term, excessive alcohol use damages almost all of the body’s major organs and can lead to cancers of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast.
  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol plays a role in the deaths of 4,358 young people under age 21 every year.
  • a wrecked car on a flatbed truckIn 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-related driving crashes; this is 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S
  • Underage drinking is a risk that attracts many adolescents and teens. Many do not recognize the dangers of the effects on their health. Others try alcohol due to peer pressure, desire of independence, and to relieve stress.
  • Drinking too much alcohol in a short time period can cause death.
  • People under the influence of alcohol have difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slow reaction time, and impaired memory and judgement.
  • A brain damaged by alcohol abuse will remain damaged long after the person achieves sobriety. Some of the long-term effects from a history of heavy drinking may be permanent and debilitating.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking results in about 23,000 deaths in women and girls each year.
  • Binge drinking increases the chances of breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to sudden infant death syndrome.
  • According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), young people under the age 21 years are more likely to carry out or be the victim of a physical or sexual assault after drinking than others their age who do not drink.
  • Alcohol continues to affect the brain and body long after you have taken your last drink. Alcohol in the stomach and intestines continues to enter the bloodstream for hours after you stop drinking.
  • As the amount of alcohol consumed increases, so does the degree of impairment of the brain. Blackouts, a period of time that the drinker cannot remember later, can occur.
  • Alcohol and tobacco use are significant risk factors for developing heart disease and cancers.
  • A person with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder,
    A baby with fetal alchohol syndrome
    Baby with fetal alcohol syndrome.

    caused by the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy, may have abnormal facial features, small head size, poor coordination, learning disabilities, low IQ, vision problems, and problems with the heart, kidneys, and bones.

  • In 2016, 20.7 million people aged 16 years or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 11.8 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs. (2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
  • Long-term health risks of alcohol abuse include dementia, stroke, heart problems, depression, suicide, increasing risk of various types of cancers, liver diseases and social problems.
  • Physical and mental effects of drug abuse depend on the type of drug used, but all drugs have side effects that may be unexpected.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines heavy alcohol use as “binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month”.
  • When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby. Alcohol passes through the placenta to the baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in the child.
  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the immediate effects of alcohol, including an increase in blood alcohol concentration (BAC), can begin 10 minutes after your first sip.
  • The NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) defines binge drinking as “a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL (grams per deciliter). This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.”