Alcohol Abuse is Rising Throughout Colorado
During 2006, there were 78,141 admissions to drug and alcohol treatment in Colorado. Admissions to treatment centers in Colorado are on the rise from 76,854 during 2005, and 69,049 admissions to drug and alcohol treatment in 2004. An overwhelming 74% of all admissions listed alcohol as a factor, contrary to a nationwide trend downward in alcohol admissions. The rate of alcohol abuse in Colorado is nearly twice the national average. According to the NSDUH annual survey for 2006, Colorado was one of the top 10 states in the county for past month alcohol use among age groups 12 and older, as well as 26 and older. Rates have been higher than national averages of any past year for dependence on or abuse of alcohol, and in 2005-2006 the rates were among the 10 highest in the country for all age groups.
Underage Drinking in Colorado
Colorado ranks 5th highest in the country for the cost per youth of underage drinking. In 2007 underage drinking cost the citizens of Colorado $1.4 billion. If you were to translate this to cost per youth, it would be $3,020 each year per youth in the State of Colorado. The largest cost for the State of Colorado is the youth violence and traffic accidents attributable to underage drinking. In addition Colorado’s cost for fetal alcohol syndrome among teen mothers is $22.9 million. The youth of Colorado accounted for 7% of all treatment admissions for alcohol abuse in Colorado, with 3,986 youth between the ages of 12 & 20 being admitted to an alcohol rehab program in Colorado.
Colorado Department of Transportation reported in 2008 that 40% of all traffic fatalities were alcohol related. Over 1,000 alcohol related accidents in Colorado resulted in injuries. Alcohol related traffic accidents cost citizens of Colorado and estimated $1.9 billion. 75% of the cost is paid by the public through taxes and increased insurance premiums. A survivor of an alcohol related crash in Colorado is estimated to cost an average of $109,000 per injured survivor.
Crime and Alcohol Abuse
On average Colorado’s criminal justice system touches approximately 31,000 drunk drivers annually. 30% of people arrested for drinking and driving have at least one prior DUI. More than 5,000d drunk drivers have had at least three prior DUI arrests. AMong the same group 84 of them had been stopped for drunk driving at least 10 times, and 5 had more than 20 prior cases.