New Mexico is no stranger to the ravaging effects alcohol abuse can have on its population. Both in human lives and in dollars spent, alcohol can be very destructive when not used responsibly.
The New Mexico Department of Health recently released a report in New Mexico Epidemiology that highlighted the economic toll and cost of lives alcohol abuse has wrought on the state in 2006. The numbers are staggering for such a relatively small state. The costs due to alcohol abuse in New Mexico were estimated to be $2.5 billion. Almost 1,000 died due to causes stemming from alcohol abuse in the state in 2006.
The costs due to alcohol abuse in New Mexico were estimated to be $2.5 billion. Almost 1,000 died due to causes stemming from alcohol abuse in the state in 2006.
Health Consequences of Alcohol Abuse
Many people assume that automobile collisions are the only causes of preventable death due to alcohol use, but it can also play a role in other fatalities, including fires, drowning, falls, and drug overdose. Alcohol abuse could be the cause of violence, especially domestic violence on spouses and children. It is linked to many chronic health conditions, such as gastrointestinal diseases, cancers, mental disorders, and certain cardiovascular diseases. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, alcohol use and misuse is the third leading cause of preventable death in the US.
According to the report, 993 deaths in New Mexico were attributed to alcohol. This translates to approximately 27,000 potential years of life that were lost. In fact, the state suffers one of the highest alcohol-related death rates in the country. The number is 1.7 times the national rate.
The Facts About Drinkers in New Mexico
One of the greatest risk factors for alcohol-related injury is binge drinking (five or more drinks per occasion for men or four or more drinks per occasion for women). In New Mexico in 2006, 13% of adults said they binge drank in the past 30 days. It was worse for youths. 21.3% of 9th graders and 31.4% of 12th graders reported binge drinking over the past 30 days.
The significance of binge drinking is that it is correlated with an assortment of risk behaviors. For instance, binge drinkers were:
• More likely to abuse other substances
• More likely to be involved in a physical fight
• More likely to be involved in domestic violence
• More likely to be sexually active
• More likely to either drive while intoxicated or be in a car with an intoxicated driver
The surprising fact is that only a minority of adults that reported binge drinking meet the criteria for alcohol dependency. The conclusion from this is that most alcohol problems in the state stem from excessive or binge drinking among non-addicts.
What Alcohol Abuse is Costing the State of New Mexico
The estimated cost to New Mexico from alcohol abuse is $2.5 billion. This cost is over $1,250 per person in the state. What were some of the major contributors to this cost?
• Lost productivity— alcohol abuse caused illnesses and death, which cost the state $1.8 billion (or 71% of the total costs) in lost productivity
• Healthcare costs— medical costs and costs of treatment totaled around $415 million
• Other societal impacts— property and administrative costs due to fires and automobile collisions, social welfare administration costs, and court costs due to alcohol-related crimes cost the state over $300 million
The costs of alcohol abuse ($2.5 billion) far outweigh the tax revenues ($97 million) New Mexico collects from the sale of alcohol. What is worse is that the cost of alcohol abuse is suffered by those other than the alcohol abusers. They only bore 45% of the cost while the Federal government takes 20% of the cost, private insurance 10%, and 6% by the victims of alcohol-related crimes and automobile collisions.
Do not let your alcohol abuse cost you your health and become a burden to others around you. We can help. Also, see Sober Living by the Sea’s treatment program for older alcoholics and drug-addicted individuals.