Alcohol-Related Facts & Figures

Alcohol & Your Health

Alcoholism kills 100,000 to 200,000 Americans a year.  There are 13 million alcoholics: 34 out of 35 of them will die from their drinking either directly or indirectly.  Consider the following:

  • Alcohol abuse is second only to Alzheimer’s disease in causing mental deterioration in adults.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the 3rd leading cause of birth defects.
  • Alcoholics are 10 times as likely to die from fires as non-alcoholics, and 5 to 13 times as likely to die from falls.
  • Alcoholics commit suicide 6 to 15 times more often than the general population.
  • Alcoholism is a factor in 40% of all suicide attempts; 67% of homicides; 54% of all violent crimes; 80% of domestic violence; 60% of emergency room admissions; 40% of industrial accidents; 50% of all traffic accidents; 38%-50% of hospital admission-although most are never so identified.

Alcoholism in the Workplace

American industry has a multi-billion dollar hangover. Estimates of the annual cost to business of alcohol-related problems on the job range from $25 billion to as much as $100 billion per year.  60% of all substandard job performance is alcohol-related and the cost of lost productivity alone has been estimated at $31-65 billion a year.

An alcoholic employee costs his company 25% of his salary in lost productivity, absenteeism, medical costs, poor performance and industrial accidents, as well as the additional supervisory time required by erratic, uneven performance and attendance.  When employees’ alcohol problems are identified and treated, these costs go down and production goes up.  cost savings from reduced absenteeism alone are estimated at $1,000 per employee treated.

Alcoholics value their jobs more than anything else, including their health or even their families, so job performance is usually the last area to be affected by their drinking.  Although often the last to realize that a problem exists, employers are frequently the first and most effective in seeking a constructive solution.  Employers recognize that is is more cost effective to treat an alcoholic employee than to replace him.  They recognize that alcoholism is a disease and are becoming increasingly active in offering treatment options for employees with drinking problems.

Many companies has Employee Assistance Programs which provide counseling and referral services for substance abuse and emotional problems.  These are very effective in treating alcohol abuse: 6 to 8 of every 10 referred patients return to their jobs with successful long term recoveries.  For every dollar invested in EAPs, employers realize returns ranging from $2 to $20.

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