The $21 Billion Cost of Alcohol Abuse in Florida

The $21 Billion Cost of Alcohol Abuse in Florida

The Alcoholism Problem and Alcohol Abuse in Florida

  • Over 8.5% of the United States population either commit alcohol abuse or are alcoholics.
  • Unfortunately, there are few of us who don't have a friend or family member who is abusing alcohol and know the cost to the person and his or her family.
  • We have all seen people who have ruined their health, their families and their careers because they drank too much.
  • You can read more about the effects of alcohol by reading Alcohol Detox and Abuse and Alcohol Detox-Why Novus.

Factors Continuing the Alcohol Use Problem

Alcohol continues to be a problem in the United States. Here are some of the reasons:

  • It is legal if you are old enough.
  • It s frequently served with meals.
  • It is commonly served at parties.
  • It is often a part of after-work meetings at bars or restaurants.
  • It is considered socially acceptable for every adult and in some groups considered a requirement.

Alcoholism Facts: $21 Billion Economic Problem of Florida Alcohol Abuse

  • In addition to the personal costs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse, there are economic costs that impact everyone and divert funds from other uses.
  • We know that Florida alcohol abuse and alcoholism significantly impacts:
    • The healthcare system;
    • The child welfare system;
    • The criminal justice system.
  • However, it has long been difficult to define these costs to society.
  • An idea of how to measure the costs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in Florida, with the fourth largest population in the United States, is easier now that The Annual Economic Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use in Florida, written by Rhonda Bohs, Ph.D. and Bisma Sayed, M.S.W., was released in July of 2009.

More Facts: Summary of the Results of the Florida Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Study

The study looked at four distinct events that were directly affected by alcohol use. These events were:

  • Fatal injuries
  • Adverse traffic events
  • Crime
  • Illness

Then each event was analyzed.


  • Alcohol-involved or -caused injuries cost Florida $8.9 billion, or 42% of the total costs.
  • The primary types of injuries are:
    • Poisoning
    • Drowning
    • Suicide
    • Falls
    • Fires
    • Machinery


  • Alcohol-involved or -caused adverse traffic events cost Florida $7.274 billion or 35% of the total costs.
  • 65% of these costs are due to nonfatal alcohol-attributable injuries from traffic accidents;
  • 35% of these costs are due to alcohol-attributed fatalities resulting from traffic accidents;
    • In this analysis, a human life is valued at $4.3 million, which was based on actuarial studies.
    • They used this value to estimate the value of the loss of quality of life due to injuries.
  • $3.6 billion of the total cost was attributed to quality of life losses as a result of the traffic accidents.


  • Alcohol-involved crime cost Florida $3.4 billion, or 16% of the total costs.
  • The costs of incarceration for crimes committed under the influence of alcohol represents 12% of the total.
  • The costs incurred by the victims or society as a result of a crime being committed by a person under the influence of alcohol represents 88% of total crime.
  • Based on prior research, it was estimated that the following crimes were committed after at least one drink of alcohol:
    • 42% of homicides
    • 39% of rapes
    • 41% of assaults
    • 33% of robberies.
  • 50% of violent crimes were estimated to be linked to alcohol use.
  • It was estimated that 5% of property crimes are committed due to alcohol use.


  • High alcohol use- or medium alcohol use- caused illness cost Florida $1.5 billion, or 7% of the total costs.
    • Medium alcohol use is defined as having greater than 3 drinks a day for men and 1.5 drinks for women.
    • High alcohol use is defined as having more than 4.4 drinks for men and 3 drinks for women.
  • 40% of costs incurred were due to illnesses caused entirely by alcohol, including:
    • Alcohol amnestic disorder (loss of memory);
    • Alcohol persistent dementia;
    • Alcohol withdrawal;
    • Alcohol-induced sleep disorder;
    • Alcohol mental disorder;
    • Alcohol dependence;
    • Alcohol abuse;
    • Alcoholic polyneuropathy;
    • Alcoholic cardiomyopathy;
    • Alcoholic gastritis;
    • Alcoholic fatty liver;
    • Alcoholic hepatitis;
    • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Work loss costs represented almost 17% of total illness costs.
  • 30% of costs were due to illnesses partially caused by alcohol;
  • 30% of costs were due to FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders)


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