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In 2010, the estimated economic cost of alcohol abuse in the United States only equaled $224 billion. This cost is equivalent to roughly $815 for every man, woman and child living in the United States. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, federal excise tax collections for alcoholic beverages totaled $20 billion in 2010. Put into perspective, this amounts to about 9 percent of the $224 billion in alcohol-related costs experienced by the American public.  Because of alcohol, the government is losing $204 billion each year. Just by banning alcohol taxes collected by households this $204 BILLION could be spent by the government by feeding and sheltering the homeless, create jobs and help cure cancers.  Here are other ways that alcohol effects society and other people's lives:

Crime -  According to a recent national survey, alcohol contributes to 70% of violent behavior and 46% of people who reported committing a crime said they were using alcohol at the time.



Work - New research shows it is the light or light-to-moderate drinkers who cause the most problems. More than half of all alcohol-related problems in the workplace are caused by light drinkers and 87% by light-to-moderate drinkers.{“Hangovers - A Pain in the Workplace,” alcoholism.about.com - Sept. 2003}


Traffic Accidents: Following are two articles on "Alcohol and Accidents." Feel free to copy and use facts, perhaps for a letter to the editor of a newspaper in your area, or to read to a community group. Individuals need reminding of the risks of alcohol and driving, especially at holiday times of the year such as July 4th, Christmas and New Year's, etc., when traffic fatalities increase. Every day 45 Americans lose their lives and over 800 are injured in alcohol-related crashes.  Forty percent of all traffic fatalities (the leading cause of accidental deaths) are alcohol related, and alcohol has been implicated in many other kinds of accidents as well, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). According to MADD, it only takes one drink to double the chances of a fatal car crash. Although the impairment associated with alcohol consumption may vary among Individuals, investigators have not found a threshold below which there is no impairment of any kind. The U.S. Department of Transportation states that some skills are significantly impaired by blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.01% (which can be the result of 1/2 drink or less) and serious errors increase at levels of 0.025% (about one to one-and-a-half drinks of alcohol). The effects on the brain centers may last as long as five hours after alcohol has been ingested, long after the BAC has returned to normal. Divided attention deficits occur as low as 0.02% BAC, and when confronted with two or more tasks at the same time, one is favored over the other. For example, the impaired driver would tend to concentrate on steering, becoming less vigilant with respect to safety information. Every driver needs to be sober, alert, clear thinking, even more so because of the many other drivers who will be on medications/drugs, sleep deprived, exceeding the speed limit, eating, talking on cell phones, reading, smoking, and a host of other distractions that add to the human error factor. To be safer and healthier, stay alert and lessen your risks — make those beverages non-alcoholic. There have been many displays of flags, ribbons, and banners since the September 11 tragedy. Yet, these demonstrations seem hypocritical when there are so many innocent victims injured and dying every day from irresponsible drivers. Many Americans regularly exceed the speed limit, do not stop at stop signs or lights, and think nothing of driving after having a glass of wine or beer. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has now chosen to use the term 'crash' not 'accident,' suggesting that most accidents are not 'accidental.' Drivers who run through red lights are involved in 89,000 crashes yearly in the U.S., causing 82,000 injuries and nearly 1,000 deaths. Last year there were 41,600 traffic deaths in the U.S. (15,700 alcohol related), which includes over 900 traffic deaths in Virginia (341 were alcohol related). Excessive speed is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes. Investigators have not found an amount of alcohol where there is no impairment of any kind, and the effects on the brain centers may last as long as five hours after the alcohol has been ingested, even after the blood alcohol level has returned to normal. Few see this as a disregard of others' freedoms, yet alcohol-related crashes accidents kill the equivalent of two jumbo jets crashing and killing all the occupants every week! A senseless death or injury that happens to someone you love is no less painful if it is from irresponsible driving or an act of terrorism. Show your love of country and freedom by obeying the laws that were made to protect all Americans.

 Effect of One Drink —The Effect of Low Blood Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Any blood alcohol level, even a BAC of 0.02%, the result of  less than one drink, increases the risk of a crash. Alcohol impairs nearly every aspect of the brain's ability to process information, as well as the eye's ability to focus and react to light. {University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, Jan. 1998} Among male drivers younger than age 21, a BAC (blood alcohol concentration)of 0.02%, more than doubles the relative risk for a single-vehicle fatal crash. Drowsiness also increases crash risk, and BAC's as low as 0.01% increase susceptibility to sleepiness. Each year in the U.S., from one to two million people experience a head injury, and it is estimated that 200,000 of these people will die and 500,000 will be hospitalized. Traffic accidents, the cause of about two of three traumatic brain injuries (TBI's), are the main cause of death for 6 to 20 year olds, and in more than half of these accidents, the driver was under the influence of alcohol. {"The Causes: Falls, Crashes, and Violence," laurushealth.com - May 2001}  Studies have shown that impairment in performance begins at levels even lower than 0.02% BAC. {"Alcohol Problems and Aging," Research Monograph - 33, NIAAA}  Impairment in performance begins at below 0.02% BAC). NIAAA - Alcohol Problems and Aging: 1998 U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services}Alcohol may impair driving even after the blood alcohol levels have returned to zero. Long before alcohol erodes the liver or permanently pickles the brain, it may kill by a swifter mechanism: accidents.{from the book "Your Good Health," Bennett, Goldfinger and Johnson}Alcohol and Traffic AccidentsCBS news reported that 7.7% (almost 10%) of all the drivers on the road at any one time will be alcohol impaired (March 1997), and 67% of the drivers do not stop for stop signs {Federal Highway studies on driver behavior} Alcohol is a factor in almost 50% of all accidental deaths.{"Alcohol affects many kinds of accidents," by Nicolas Pace, M.D., an expert in the field of alcohol research, The Daily Progress newspaper in Charlottesville, Virginia, Mar. 1993}According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, at least 700 diving accidents a year involve spinal cord injuries to the neck, and as many as half of these involve alcohol. The alcohol in a couple of beers can impair one's performance enough to create a significant risk of paralytic injury, warns M. W. Perrine, director and senior scientist of the Vermont Alcohol Research in Colchester.{Washington Post Health, Aug. 1994}More than four out of ten traffic fatalities involve alcohol, and the National Safety Council estimates that two in every five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash at some point in their lives. At night the traffic deaths are four times higher than during the day.{Washington Post Health, Dec. 17, 1996}The likelihood of having an "accident" increases with every drink a driver takes. One person is killed every 33 minutes in an alcohol-related accident — that's the equivalent of two jumbo jets crashing and killing all the occupants every week.{"DUI Deaths Hit a Record Low," alcoholism.about.com - Sep. 2000} Alcohol slows down mental alertness and acuity as well as mental processes. Physical coordination and reflexes are also impaired, which is why it is so dangerous to drive after drinking."Foods to Avoid or Limit," Susan Lark, M.D., HealthWorld Online, June 2001}In one study, more than 38% of motor vehicle fatalities in 1997 involved alcohol use, and three out of every ten persons in the U.S. will in some way be involved in an alcohol-related crash during their lifetime.{alcoholmd.com - Oct. 2001}Among male drivers younger than age 21, a BAC increase of 0.02% more than doubles the relative risk of a single-vehicle crash.{“Alcohol and Transportation Safety,” Alcohol Alert, NIAAA, Apr. 2001}


Alcohol and Non-Traffic Accidents - What few people realize is that alcohol is not merely a risk on the road, but also at home, leading to accidents, abuse and divorce.{Alternative Medicine, 'Definitive Guide to Cancer,' John Diamond, M.D., Lee Cowden, M.D., and Burton Goldburg, 1997} Alcohol is a factor in about a third of fatal bicycle accidents. Besides impairing coordination and prolonging reaction time, drinking greatly reduces the likelihood that cyclists will wear helmets, said Guohua Li, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. {"Drinking A Risk For Cyclists," Washington Post Health, Feb. 4, 1997} According to the National Safety Council, 6.8 million Americans were injured at home in 1998, injuries severe enough to sideline them for a day. {"Essentials of a Well-Stocked Medicine Cabinet," Sally Squires, Washington Post Health, Oct. 5, 1999}


Alcohol and Violence -Alcohol is present in nearly 50% of homicides.{U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Jan. 1989} In 40% of the cases of violence in the home, alcohol was a factor.{University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, Apr. 1994} Newsweek (1995) reports that 1.8 million women are abused every year. Alcohol and drugs are almost always a factor in wife beating.{Ann Landers, Sep. 4, 1994} The use of alcohol leads to family abuse. A large percentage of violent crimes, especially wife and child beatings and incest, are a direct consequence of drinking alcohol. {Alcohol Health and Research World, Winter 1983-84; also William Glasser, M.D., in "Taking Effective Control of Your Life."}


Falls – Alcohol is a factor in 40% or more of falls, and the drinker is likely to be

hurt more seriously than a nondrinker given the same traumatic circumstances. {U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Jan. 1989}


Vandalism – 80% of all vandalism is caused by people who have been drinking causing billions of dollars in damage per year.


Rape - You may find this surprising, but it's a fact that 78% of rape victims know their attacker. Date rape typically occurs when the woman is alone with the man - usually in his room, apartment or car - and is vulnerable. Alcohol can play a significant role in the occurrence of date rape. Consider this: 55% of female students and 75% of male students involved in acquaintance rape had been drinking or using drugs at the time. Drinking has become a popular social activity and is seen as a way of setting the mood for romance. But after a few drinks, a woman may become too intoxicated to realize what's going on or to fend off unwanted sexual advances. Alcohol clouds judgment and decreases motor skills which may be crucial in escaping an uncomfortable situation before it gets out of hand. In 2002, there were 500,000-2,000,000 (the number is unknown because so many rapes go unreported) victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.  70% of these rapes were by people who had been drinking.


Grades - Research proves that female college students who drink have more problems with their grades than students who drink not at all. Because alcohol affects a woman's body differently than a man's, your grades and scholastic performance will drop quicker than a man's. This reduces your options for employment and graduate school. Drinking, with its potential for increased medical problems and illness, may also have an adverse effect on your career possibilities after graduation - if you graduate. Figures show that as the average number of drinks per week increases, your G.P.A. decreases and is far higher for people who don't drink at all. 41% of all academic problems stem from alcohol abuse. 28% of students who drop out of school may do so because of alcohol abuse.


Cost of a drink – The cost of one 12 oz beer runs anywhere from $3.50 to $6.00 per beer.  The cost of an average 8 oz glass of wine will run you anywhere from $7.00 to $9.00 per glass, you take that equivalent to a 16 oz drink and your looking $14.00-$18.00 per 16 oz.  But yet on the other hand an average 20 oz bottle of pop or Gatorade will cost you anywhere from $1.50 to $2.00 and in most cases when you go to a restaurant it is unlimited refills on soft drinks and lemonade for $2.00 to $2.75.  You have 3 glass of pop and your cost per 16 oz comes to $.75.  So on average the costs for 16 oz drinks at a restaurant is $.75 for a soft drink or lemonade, $6.00 for a beer, or $15.00 for 16 oz of wine.  So beer costs 6 times as much as pop per 16 oz glass and wine costs a staggering 20 times as much as pop per 16 oz glass  A study showed people who drink spend an average of $187 more per month than people that didn’t drink, that is $2,244 per year that could be saved and spent on a nice vacation, big screen TV or a nice down payment on a car just by not drinking.


Hangovers and puking - In the U.S., the annual cost of hangover-related absenteeism and poor job performance is $148 billion.  Oh what fun it is to have a pounding headache the next day and puking your brains out all while you can’t remember what you did the night before!!!


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