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Missoula Measures - Adult Alcohol Use


Why this topic

The toll the heavy use of alcohol use exacts on society, individual health, and the economy is staggering. Whether we as a community look at injuries, traffic crashes, family dynamics, violence, or lack of success in school or the work place, alcohol is frequently lurking in the corners of the picture.

Even moderate alcohol use can increase the risk of accidental injury. Nationwide, alcohol is related to:

In regard to basic needs, people with alcohol addiction have a difficult time holding down a job, making sure the rent gets paid, pursuing an education, remaining safe, etc.

Nationally, an estimated 75,000 Americans die each year because of excessive alcohol use, with drinking-related diseases cutting their lives short by an average of 30 years, according to 2004 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC  45% of these died in 2001 from alcohol-related diseases like cirrhosis of the liver and cancer, while the remaining 55% died in alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents.

Chronic diseases associated with alcohol use or abuse: Cirrhosis, injuries, crime, depression/suicide, traffic crashes, high blood pressure, and breast cancer.

What is alcoholism? A varied discussion by professionals in the field of addiction treatment. (Click on the person's name to see their comments on each question.)

How are we doing

Not well. The federal government estimates that 13% of the nation’s adult population has a problem with excessive use of alcohol.  Missoula Blue Ribbon Commission II   Of course, not everyone who occasionally drinks excessively falls into that category.

Binge drinking was chosen as an indicator partly because of the kinds of problems that tend to follow from a binge drinker’s impaired thinking — traffic crashes, unsafe sex, displays of temper — whether or not the drinker has an ongoing problem with alcohol. Men (22%) are more likely to binge drink than women (7%).  Montana BRFSS 1998

graph comparative binge drinking rates, US, Montana, Lowest State, Highest State 

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Montana 18 & Over Binge Alcohol Use

graph binge drinking rates MT & US

All respondents 18 and older who report having five or more drinks on an occasion, one or more times in the past month.

graph adult heavy drinkers and binge drinkers, Missoula, Montana and US 2012

 Heavy Drinkers: Male > 2/day; Female > 1/day; Binge > 4/day
Missoula info will be updated in 2013

Demographics of binge drinkers

According to a 2010 survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control, nationally:


Healthy People 2020 Target    
  Base Target
Reduce percent of adults binge drinking in past month 27% 24.3%

CDC - Binge Drinking Report - what is binge drinking, who does it, how it affects the rest of us, etc.


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Related data

More related data

MUSAP Report 2011 (Missoula Underage Substance Abuse Prevention)


Brief background

Cost to society

Society pays vast sums of money to contend with the damage done by its intoxicated citizens. The payments are made in the form of prisons, insurance premiums, loss of life, and damaged property. And the costs of — and to — damaged families cannot be calculated. Alcohol was involved in one out of every four family problems and one out of three failed marriages. IUCSD Prevention File, Spring 1994


Risks associated with excessive alcohol use

Research has shown that alcohol abuse leads to:

CDC: Alcohol and risks to MEN'S health

CDC: Alcohol and risks to WOMEN'S health


The costs associated with excessive alcohol use - CDC, 2013

In 2006, those costs averaged $1.9 Billion, per state.

“Excessive alcohol use has devastating impacts on individuals, families, communities, and the economy,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “In addition to injury, illness, disease, and death, it costs our society billions of dollars through reduced work productivity, increased criminal justice expenses, and higher healthcare costs. Effective prevention programs can support people in making wise choices about drinking alcohol.”

Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost in the United States each year. Binge drinking is responsible for over half of these deaths and two-thirds of the years of life lost.
Binge drinking, which is defined as consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men or four or more drinks on an occasion for women, was responsible for more than 70 percent of excessive alcohol use related costs.

Researchers believe that the study’s findings are underestimated because it did not consider a number of other costs, such as those due to pain and suffering by the excessive drinker or others who were affected by the drinking.



Related websites

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

Web of Addictions - provides accurate information about alcohol and other drug addictions.

Alcohol Fact Sheets - CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.

Healthy People 2020 has extensive background on national public health status of this topic and many others.


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