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Page last updated Oct. 13, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.

11. Alcohol Use Among African-Americans In The US, 2002-2008

"Past month alcohol use, binge alcohol use, and illicit drug use remained relatively stable among black adults between 2002 and 2008 (Figure1).4,5
"Combined 2004 to 2008 data indicate that, in the past month, 44.3 percent of black adults used alcohol, 21.7 percent reported binge alcohol use, and 9.5 percent used an illicit drug (Figure 2).
"Rates of past month alcohol use and binge alcohol use were lower among black adults than the national averages. The rate of past month illicit drug use among black adults, however, was higher than the national average.
"Rates of past month and binge alcohol use were considerably lower among young black adults than the national average of young adults (48.6 vs. 61.1 percent and 25.3 vs. 41.6 percent, respectively) (Figure 3). Past month illicit drug use among young black adults was slightly lower than the national average (18.7 vs. 19.7 percent).
"Older black adults had a rate of past month alcohol use that was considerably lower than the national average of older adults (20.3 vs. 38.3 percent) (Figure 4). Their rates of binge alcohol use and past month illicit drug use, however, did not differ significantly from the national averages.
"Compared with the national averages, adult black females had lower rates of past month alcohol use and binge alcohol use and a slightly higher rate of past month illicit drug use (Table 1).
"Compared with the national averages, adult black males had lower rates of past month alcohol use and binge alcohol use and a slightly higher rate of past month illicit drug use (Table 2)."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (February 18, 2010). "The NSDUH Report: Substance Use among Black Adults." Rockville, MD, pp. 3-5.

12. Alcohol Overdose Deaths in the US, 2012

"On average, 6 people died every day from alcohol poisoning in the US from 2010 to 2012. Alcohol poisoning is caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time. Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shutdown critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death. Alcohol poisoning deaths affect people of all ages but are most common among middle-aged adults and men."

Alcohol Poisoning Deaths. CDC Vital Signs, January 2015. US Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA.

13. Prohibition and Homicide Rates

"The data are quite consistent with the view that Prohibition at the state level inhibited alcohol consumption, and an attempt to explain correlated residuals by including omitted variables revealed that enforcement of Prohibitionist legislation had a significant inhibiting effect as well. Moreover, both hypotheses about the effects of alcohol and Prohibition are supported by the analysis. Despite the fact that alcohol consumption is a positive correlate of homicide (as expected), Prohibition and its enforcement increased the homicide rate."

Jensen, Gary F., "Prohibition, Alcohol, and Murder: Untangling Countervailing Mechanisms," Homicide Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, February 2000), p. 31.

14. Comparison of Lethal Dose Versus Recreational Dose for Alcohol Compared With Other Drugs

"The lethal dose of alcohol divided by a typical recreational dose (safety ratio) is 10, which places it closer to heroin (6), and GHB (8) in terms of danger from overdose, than MDMA ('Ecstasy' – 16), and considerably more dangerous than LSD (1000) or cannabis (>1000)."

Sellman, Doug, "If alcohol was a new drug," Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association (Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Medical Association, September 2009), p. 6.

15. Alcohol Use v Marijuana Use - US Youth and "The Displacement Hypothesis"

"Alcohol and marijuana are the two most commonly used substances by teenagers to get high, and a question that is often asked is to what extent does change in one lead to a change in the other. If the substances co-vary negatively (an increase in one is accompanied by a decrease in the other) they are said to be substitutes; if they co-vary positively, they are said to be complements. Note that there is no evidence that the 13-year decline in marijuana use observed between 1979 and 1992 led to any accompanying increase in alcohol use; in fact, through 1992 there was some parallel decline in annual, monthly, and daily alcohol use, as well as in occasions of heavy drinking among 12th graders, suggesting that the two substances are complements. Earlier, when marijuana use increased in the late 1970s, alcohol use also increased. As marijuana use increased again in the 1990s, alcohol use again increased with it, although not as sharply. In sum, there has been little evidence from MTF over the years that supports what we have termed 'the displacement hypothesis,' which asserts that an increase in marijuana use will somehow lead to a decline in alcohol use, or vice versa.8 Instead, both substances appear to move more in harmony, perhaps both reflecting changes in a more general construct, such as the tendency to use psychoactive substances, whether licit or illicit, or in the frequency with which teens party. However, with alcohol use decreasing and marijuana use increasing over the past few years, it is possible that the displacement hypothesis is gaining some support. As a number of states are changing their policies regarding marijuana, our continued monitoring will provide the needed evidence concerning whether alcohol and marijuana are substitutes or complements."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2015). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2014: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, pp. 161-162.

16. Illicit Substance Use by 'Lifetime' Alcohol Users in the US

"Lifetime alcohol users aged 21 or older had a significantly higher rate of past year illicit drug use (13.7 percent) compared with lifetime nondrinkers (2.7 percent). In addition, lifetime alcohol users had significantly higher rates of past year use across all illicit drug categories, with the exception of inhalants (Table 1). Nonmedical use of pain relievers was the illicit drug used most often by lifetime nondrinkers, whereas lifetime alcohol users reported using marijuana most frequently."

"Illicit Drug Use Among Lifetime Nondrinkers and Lifetime Alcohol Users," Office of Applied Programs, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, US Dept. of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2005, p. 2.

17. 'Lifetime' Alcohol Users and Other Drug Use

"In 2002 and 2003, an estimated 88.2 percent of persons aged 21 or older (175.6 million) were lifetime alcohol users, whereas an estimated 11.8 percent (23.5 million) were lifetime nondrinkers. Over half of lifetime alcohol users (52.7 percent) had used one or more illicit drugs at some time in their life, compared to 8.0 percent of lifetime nondrinkers. Among persons who had used an illicit drug in their lifetime, the average age at first illicit drug use was 19 years for lifetime alcohol users, versus 23 years for lifetime nondrinkers."

"Illicit Drug Use Among Lifetime Nondrinkers and Lifetime Alcohol Users," Office of Applied Programs, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, US Dept. of Health and Human Services, June 14, 2005, p. 2.

18. Association of Alcohol Use with Tobacco and Other Substance Use in the US, 2013

"• As was the case in prior years, the level of alcohol use was associated with illicit drug use in 2013. Among the 16.5 million heavy drinkers aged 12 or older, 33.7 percent were current illicit drug users. Persons who were not current alcohol users were less likely to have used illicit drugs in the past month (4.3 percent) than those who reported current use of alcohol but no binge or heavy use (7.3 percent), binge use but no heavy use (18.5 percent), or heavy use of alcohol (33.7 percent).
"• Alcohol consumption levels also were associated with tobacco use in 2013. Among heavy alcohol users aged 12 or older, 53.1 percent smoked cigarettes in the past month compared with 16.2 percent of non-binge current drinkers and 15.5 percent of persons who did not drink alcohol in the past month. Smokeless tobacco use and cigar use also were more prevalent among heavy drinkers (12.1 and 15.4 percent, respectively) than among non-binge drinkers (2.0 and 3.9 percent) and persons who were not current alcohol users (2.0 and 1.8 percent)."

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014, pp. 41-42.

19. Medications to Treat Alcohol Addiction

"VIVITROL was approved in 2006 by the FDA as an extended-release formulation of naltrexone for the treatment of alcohol dependence in patients who are able to abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting prior to initiation of treatment. VIVITROL is administered by intramuscular (IM) injection once per month."

"VIVITROL® (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension)," FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee Meeting (Waltham, MAP: Alkermes, Inc., September 16, 2010), p. 10.

20. Alcohol Mortality and Other Annual Costs in the US

"Excessive alcohol use* accounted for an estimated average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) in the United States each year during 2001–2005, and an estimated $223.5 billion in economic costs in 2006. Binge drinking accounted for more than half of those deaths, two thirds of the YPLL, and three quarters of the economic costs."

* Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking (defined by CDC as consuming four or more drinks per occasion for women or five or more drinks per occasion for men), heavy drinking (defined as consuming more than one drink per day on average for women or more than two drinks per day on average for men), any alcohol consumption by pregnant women, and any alcohol consumption by youths aged less than 21 years.

Kanny, Dafna; Garvin, William S.; and Balluz, Lina, "ital Signs: Binge Drinking Prevalence, Frequency, and Intensity Among Adults — United States, 2010," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 13, 2012) Vol. 61, No. 1, p. 14.