Surprising Facts about Alcohol Use in the United States
Abstinence and Binge-Drinking
- 30% of American adults abstain completely from alcohol, and up to 44% of Americans have not consumed alcohol in the past month, making the United States the country with the highest prevalence of abstinence in the Western world.
- Even though Americans drink less than Europeans, they are more likely to die from alcohol consumption than their European counterparts.
- Ireland has both the highest rate of alcohol abstainers and the highest rate of alcohol consumption per capita in the European Union. Irish citizens consume 20% more alcohol than the average European, and well beyond the amount consumed per capita in Russia.
- 26.9% of American adults report binge drinking in the past month.
- The United States treats 1.3 million people for alcohol use disorders each year - more than any other country in the world.
- 14 states require no license or education for substance abuse counselors beyond a GED. There is no mandatory national certification exam for addiction counselors.
- Rehab costs range from $1000 to $1800 per day.
- Research demonstrates that AA has a success rate ranging from 5 to 8%, although a systematic review of the evidence suggests an efficacy rate closer to 1%.
- More than 90% of rehabs in the United States operate on the 12-step model of AA.
- The most comprehensive review of alcoholism treatment available ranks AA 38th out of 48 treatment approaches for the treatment of problem drinking in terms of efficacy.
- 95% of people who attend AA drop out within 12 months.
- Less than 10% of Americans who are struggling with problem drinking and drug use receive any form of treatment. Those who do receive treatment typically go to rehab or AA.
- 75% of problem drinkers moderate or eliminate alcohol use without any form of treatment (spontaneous remission).
- People with high incomes drink more alcohol and smoke more marijuana than than those who are working class or poor. Wealthy, educated men drink more than others.
- Over 10% of children live with one parent who has an alcohol problem.
- 20% of college students meet criteria for an Alcohol Use Disorder.
- The majority of Americans who die from alcohol poisoning are non-Hispanic whites between the ages of 35 and 65. Most of them are not chemically dependent on alcohol.
- It is estimated that 10% of doctors struggle with alcohol or drug use in a way that impairs their clinical practice.
- More than 15% of surgeons have an alcohol use disorder.,
- 36% of doctors know a physician first-hand who is impaired by a Substance Use Disorder, yet take no action to address substance-related impairment (e.g. confronting the physician, enlisting help from colleagues, or reporting the physician to the licensing board).