Alcohol addiction: cost and consequences

Alcohol addiction: cost and consequences

Here are some statistics from the USA that will give you an idea of how serious the impact of alcohol can be on a nation as a whole.

• One-quarter of all emergency-room admissions, one-third of all suicides, and more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol-related.
• Heavy drinking contributes to illness in each of the top three causes of death: heart disease, cancer and stroke.
• Almost half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.
• Between 48% and 64% of people who die in fires have blood alcohol levels indicating intoxication.
• Foetal alcohol syndrome is the leading known cause of mental retardation.
• Alcohol and drug abuse costs the American economy an estimated $276 billion per year in lost productivity, health-care expenditure, crime, motor-vehicle crashes and other conditions.
• Untreated addiction is more expensive than heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined.
• Every American adult pays nearly $1 000 per year for the damages of addiction.



When solutions are found…

Research shows conclusively that successful prevention and treatment leads to reductions in traffic fatalities, crime, unwanted pregnancy, child abuse, HIV, cancer and heart disease. Treatment reduces drug use, improves health, improves job performance, reduces involvement with the criminal justice system, reduces family dysfunction and improves quality of life.


The Comprehensive Assessment Treatment Outcomes Registry Data in Ohio in the USA has documented dramatic results in decreasing occupational problems, including the following reductions after treatment:
• Absenteeism decreased by 89%
• Tardiness decreased by 92%
• Problems with supervisors decreased by 56%
• Mistakes in work decreased by 70%
• Incomplete work decreased by 81%

Additionally, a California study found significant decreased health-care costs from before to after treatment in:
• Hospitalisations for physical health problems (-36%)
• Drug overdose hospitalisations (-58%)
• Mental health hospitalisations (-44%)
• The number of emergency room visits (-36%)
• The total number of hospital days (-25%)



Cost benefits of successful alcohol addiction treatment

Evidence demonstrates that treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse works. Treatment not only saves lives, it also saves money that would otherwise be spent in other areas of medical care and social services. In the USA, for example, for every dollar spent on addiction treatment, seven dollars is saved in reduced health-care costs.