In the United States, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance. There are more than 136 million drinkers, with nearly one quarter of them (approximately 60 million people) engaging in risky binge-drinking patterns such as having five drinks or more on one occasion, which often lead to alcohol dependency or addiction.
The impact of alcohol addiction is felt in every state in America, leaving no city or community completely untouched. According to research, the national rates of alcohol use are mirrored for Texas, revealing that alcohol addiction is a major challenge for the state.
Texas Trends and Statistics
Describing trends for various substances of abuse, the University of Texas at Austin published a report that revealed the following statistics related to alcohol use in Texas:
In 2014, 25 percent of Texas secondary school students in grades 7–12 had consumed alcohol in the last month.
In 2014, 9 percent of all secondary students said that when they drank, they usually drank five or more beers at one time, and 9 percent reported binge drinking liquor.
In 2013, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that 36 percent of Texas high school students in grades 9–12 had drunk alcohol in the past month and 21 percent had drunk five or more drinks in a row in the last month.
In 2013, 22 percent of females and 25 percent of males reported binge drinking.
The 2012–2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 46.7 percent of all Texans age 12 and older had drunk alcohol in the past month.
In 2012–2013, 6.7 percent of Texans ages 12 and older were estimated to be alcohol dependent or abusers in the past year.
In 2014, 27 percent of all clients admitted to publicly funded treatment programs in Texas had a primary problem with alcohol addiction.
The characteristics of alcohol admissions have changed over the years. In 1988, 82 percent of the clients were male, compared with 68 percent in 2013.
Last year, federal officials reported a decline in teen and adult binge drinking between 2002 and 2013. However, reports of heavy drinking are on the rise in certain Texas counties. For example, between 2005 and 2012, the number of heavy-drinking women in Collin County increased from 4.4 to 6.5 percent. There is also an increase from 7.8 to 8.9 percent in heavy-drinking among men in Dallas County.
Economic Impact of Alcohol Addiction
The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that excessive alcohol use cost the nation over $250 billion in 2010, suggesting a huge drain on the American economy.
Texans paid approximately $26.5 billion—$703 for every resident—in 2013 for public healthcare costs, lost productivity and other fallout resulting from excessive alcohol use.
Driving fatalities resulting from alcohol reached 1,449 in 2015, which accounted for 40.9% of all percent traffic deaths. For the same year, the total number of alcohol-related crashes and injuries was over 40,000. Car accidents involving alcohol resulted in 99,195 arrests and 71,030 DUI convictions.
To combat these devastating statistics, Texas passed an all-offender ignition interlock bill in 2015. This bill mandates the use of technology to prevent convicted drunk drivers from operating a vehicle. The ignition interlock is a device about the size of a cell phone that is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle. The driver must blow into the device in order to start their vehicle. If they have a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, the vehicle will not start.