We don’t typically think about alcohol being a drug–but it is. It alters our brain chemistry and has the potential to create a dependency that results in abuse and/or addiction. Alcohol is by far the biggest substance abuse problem in Oklahoma, as you will see from reading the information below. As your read, think about your own use or non-use of alcohol. Why and when do you use it? Do you think you might have a “problem” drinking too much? Are your drinking habits having an influence over others–like your friends, your spouse, your children?
Whether or not you use alcohol, you can have a role in addressing this significant problem in Oklahoma. As you read this information, think about things that you can do–small or significant—to address this issue in your home, your school, your community.
General background information on alcohol use and abuse in Oklahoma can be found at: OKDHS
For more detailed information about alcohol, go to the website of FATE’s alliance partner, partnership for drugfree.org by clicking here
Alcohol – including beer, wine, and hard liquor are the most commonly used and widely abused psychoactive drug in the country. Alcohol is the most widely tried drug among teenagers. Over 50 percent of 8th graders and 8 out of 10 12th graders report having tried alcohol. Many teenagers report binge drinking – in 1995, 30 percent of 12th graders surveyed reported binge drinking (5+ drinks in a sitting) in the previous 2 weeks. Even young teens report irresponsible use of alcohol – 25 percent of 8th graders have been drunk.
Alcohol use is widespread, although the per capita consumption has varied from decade to decade. While U.S. consumption of alcoholic beverages increased after World II, since 1981 it has declined slightly. But even with declines in alcohol use, two of three American adults drink alcoholic beverages. About half of all alcohol consumed in this country is ingested by heavy drinkers, estimated to be between 6.5 and 10 percent of the total population. The extent and frequency with which these individuals drink cause serious health and behavioral problems – disrupting their own lives and that of their family, friends, and employers – and also extracts a heavy societal toll.
Alcohol use is involved in:
- one-half of all murders, accidental deaths, and suicides,
- one-third of all drowning, boating and aviation deaths,
- one-half of all crimes, and
- almost half of all fatal automobile accidents.
The health problems associated with alcohol include:
- brain damage,
- heart disease, and
- cirrhosis of the liver.
According to usnodrugs.com
In Oklahoma it was estimated that the total number of individuals with an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse problem over a one year period was 196,000.
- An estimated 17,000 of the individuals with an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse problem in Oklahoma over a one year period were between the ages of 12-17 years old.
- An estimated 70,000 of the individuals with an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse problem in Oklahoma over a one year period were between the ages of 18-25 years old.
- An estimated 109,000 of the individuals with an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse problem in Oklahoma over a one year period were 26 or older.
In Oklahoma it was estimated that the total number of binge alcohol users over a one month period was 539,000.
- An estimated 32,000 of the binge alcohol users in Oklahoma over a one month period were between the ages of 12-17 years old.
- An estimated 156,000 of the binge alcohol users in Oklahoma over a one month period were between the ages of 18-25 years old.
- An estimated 351,000 of the binge alcohol users in Oklahoma over a one month period were 26 or older.
Underage alcohol use: What’s the cost?
The cost of underage drinking in Oklahoma is estimated to be $938 million in one year, according to http://www.udetc.org/factsheets/Oklahoma.pdf
This is more than THREE TIMES the budget of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
By Air Force News Contributors
Posted: 09:02 AM Friday, July 30, 2010
What’s the cost?
Alcohol is the drug of choice among youth. Many young people are experiencing the consequences of drinking too much, at too early an age. As a result, underage drinking is a leading public health problem in the country.
In 2007, the Century Council reported that underage drinking cost the citizens of Oklahoma $939 million. These costs included medical care, work loss, pain and suffering associated with the multiple problems resulting from the use of alcohol by youth. This translates to a cost of $2,634 per year for each youth in the state.
Oklahoma ranks 14th highest among the 50 states for the cost per year of underage drinking. The article showed the breakdown in millions as: Youth violence, $596.6; youth traffic crashes, $157.6: high-risk sex, ages 14-20, $73.4; youth property crime, $39.4; youth injury, $33.6; poisonings and psychoses, $4.2, fetal alcohol syndrome among mothers age 15-20, $17.6; and youth alcohol treatment, $16.1.
Underage drinking in Oklahoma leads to substantial harm due to traffic crashes, violent crime, property crime, unintentional injury and risky sex.
In 2008, of the 244 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, 46 were under age 21. Of the 18,890 driving under the influence, 233 were under the age of 18.
During 2007, an estimated 29 traffic fatalities and 1,200 nonfatal traffic injuries involved an underage drinking driver.
In 2006, an estimated 28 homicides; 14,800 nonfatal violent crimes such as rape, robbery and assault; and 24,700 property crimes including burglary, larceny and car theft involved an underage drinking perpetrator.
In 2006, an estimated seven alcohol involved fatal burns, drowning and suicides involved underage drinking.
In 2006, an estimated 2,500 teen pregnancies and 11,600 risky sexual acts by teens involved alcohol.
Today, alcohol is widely available and aggressively promoted throughout society. Alcohol use continues to be regarded, by many people, as normal part of growing up. Yet, underage drinking is dangerous, not only for the drinker but also for society, as evident by the number of alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides and other injuries.
People who begin drinking early in life run the risk of developing serious alcohol problems, including alcoholism, later in life. They also are at greater risk for a variety of adverse consequences, including risky sexual activity and poor performance in school and career.
The Air Force has a zero tolerance for underage drinking. Prevention must play an important part in helping our young people make better choices. Underage drinking has cost some military members their careers. At Tinker, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test is given to all new enlisted members with special emphasis on underage drinking. Literature is available at various locations in Bldgs. 5801, 201 and 3001, the 552nd Air Control Wing and the Navy.
All 50 states have a zero tolerance for underage individuals that drive after consumption of alcohol. Oklahoma has a statewide enforcement project 2 Much 2 Lose whose primary goal is designed to raise community awareness about the under 21 drinking problem.
It is going to take a community effort to make a change. For more information about this important issue, visit www.centurycouncil.org; www.niaaa.nih.gov; www.udetc.org; www.2much2lose.com or call the Tinker Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program at (405) 739-7141.