Alcohol Kills One Person Every Ten Seconds.


Melissa Killeen

The misuse and abuse of alcohol affect the lives, health and well-being of billions of people. A World Health Organization 2014 report stated the consumption of alcohol led to 3.3 million deaths around the world. In essence, the report says that alcohol kills 1 person every 10 seconds.

Shekhar Saxena, head of the World Health Organization’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, reports that there are roughly 3.25 billion people in the world that drink, and these drinkers consume an average of 4.5 gallons of pure alcohol a year. China is estimated to increase it’s per person, per year alcohol consumption ratio by an additional 1.5 liters of pure alcohol by 2025.

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than half of all U.S. adult citizens drink alcohol, with 6.6% meeting criteria for an alcohol-use disorder.

One in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years are due to excessive alcohol use.

A CDC study, published in June of this year, found that nearly 70% of deaths due to drinking involved working-age adults, and about 70% of those deaths involved males. Nearly 88,000 people die in the U.S. from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third most preventable cause of death in the United States. In 2013, fatal accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver accounted for 10,076 deaths or 30.8 % of all driving fatalities.

Men are more likely than women to experience alcohol-related deaths. Although more women are drinking today as compared to 2012, of the 88,000 alcohol related deaths, approximately 62,000 were men and 26,000 were women. This study proclaims that excessive alcohol use can shortened the lives of working-age adults by about 30 years.

Alexandra Sifferlin for Time Magazine reported that harmful alcohol use not only leads to addiction, but it can put people at a higher risk of over 200 disorders like liver disease, tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Binge drinking can damage the frontal cortex and other areas of the brain

The CDC report shows that 16% of drinkers partake in binge drinking, which is the most dangerous form of alcohol consumption. Some of the risks associated with binge drinking are well known. It increases the risk for sexual assault, violence and self-harm. But the physical effects of such behaviors on the body are often not discussed. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there’s strong evidence to suggest that regular binge drinking impacts executive functioning and decision making by damaging the frontal cortex and other areas of the brain.

According to the 2013 The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 5.4 million people (about 14.2%) in the age range of 12-20 years, were binge drinkers (15.8% of males and 12.4% of females).

One in every four families are impacted by alcoholism

More than 10% of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study.

According to Herma Silverstein, author of the book; Alcoholism, one of every four families has problems with alcohol.

The CDC study also found that about 5% of the alcohol related deaths in the U.S. involved people younger than age 21.

In 2012, 58.3% of people who tried alcohol for the first time were younger than 18.

Drinking during pregnancy can cause brain damage to the infant, leading to a range of developmental, cognitive, and behavioral problems, otherwise called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). People/children with difficulties in the following areas may have FASD or alcohol-related birth defects:

  • Coordination
  • Emotional control
  • Learning challenges
  • Socialization skills
  • Focus in class, holding down a job

These statistics are over powering and most definitely build an excellent argument to stop drinking, especially over this Fourth of July long holiday weekend. Please share these statistics with a friend, post on your social media pages, re-publish in your blog, or newsletter.

References used in this blog:

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is one of the 27 institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAAA supports and conducts research on the impact of alcohol use on human health and well-being.

Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD) is a peer-reviewed electronic journal established by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The mission of PCD is to promote the open exchange of information and knowledge among researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and others who strive to improve the health of the public through chronic disease prevention.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides national and state-level data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs (including non-medical use of prescription drugs) and mental health in the United States

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is an agency of the U.S. Public Health Service in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Alexandra Sifferlin, (2015) What Drinking Does to Your Body over Time, Time Magazine,


Alexandra Sifferlin, (2014) Alcohol Kills 1 Person Every 10 Seconds, Report Says, Time Magazine,

Silverstein, Herma. (1990), Alcoholism. New York: Franklin Watts


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