Alcohol Abuse Continues to Rise in California
California’s alcohol abuse problem is both a public health and a public safety issue. Both the youth and the elderly are vulnerable populations, and this is a cause of concern for all Californians. Drug and alcohol treatment admissions for youth under 18 as well as seniors over 65, have drastically increased over recent years. For youth under the age of 18, treatment admissions for alcohol dependence has doubled. Alcohol dependence treatment admissions among adults 51-55 increased nearly 10%, and adults over the age of 65 experienced a staggering 44% increase. California has consistently ranked above the national average for individuals needing but not receiving treatment for alcohol abuse among all age groups.
Binge drinking in California is known to begin as early as the 8th grade and continue to worsen throughout adolescence. With that being said, approximately 21% of Californian adults are binge drinkers. Another 2.2 million citizens of California met the criteria for either being alcohol dependent or abusers of alcohol. The binge drinking in California is a serious problem and is acknowledged on national levels.
The total economic cost of alcohol abuse in California is $38 billion annually. If your were to translate this figure to the cost per resident, it would be $1,000 per Californian or $3,000 per family each year. This is a substantial cost for alcohol related problems in the state of California.
Alcohol Treatment in California
California had 18,167 total admissions to treatment for 2007-2008. Alcohol was the primary drug of choice for nearly 20% of all admissions. 38,160 reported alcohol as a secondary drug of choice, and an additional 11% reported drinking alcohol but did not indicate their primary or secondary drug of choice. Among the total admissions for alcohol abuse in California, males accounted for 63% and 3.5% of women admitted to alcohol treatment were pregnant upon admission.
Of the 3,967 people in California killed in traffic accidents, 1,489 fatalities were a result of alcohol. Another 30,783 alcohol involved injuries were reported in 2007, with an additional 203,866 DUI arrests. After 8 consecutive years of rising alcohol involved traffic fatalities there was a decrease by almost 7% in 2007.