Drinking too much alcohol can take a heavy toll, not only on a person’s health but also on his or her family relationships and work or school performance. Alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol dependence and abuse, contribute to a number of diseases and mental and behavioral disorders, and may lead to a range of injuries. In addition, drinkers and their families are subject to social harm, such as family disruption, problems at the workplace (including unemployment), criminal convictions, and financial problems. They also encounter higher health care and related costs.
Drinking produces immense costs to society in terms of health care expenses, lost productivity, and lost years of lives. One of the most effective ways to lessen the costs associated with alcohol abuse and alcoholism is to prevent people from starting abusive drinking patterns. Because people drink for different reasons and under a wide variety of circumstances, prevention efforts must address an array of problems associated with that breadth of drinking experience.
This Alert explores some of the most effective prevention approaches in use today, aimed at a variety of groups—especially youth, their families, and the communities in which they live and work. It reviews laws and policies that can curtail access to alcohol or curb its use, protecting society as a whole and reducing the social, legal, and monetary costs of alcohol abuse and dependence.
Read Full Alert (PDF)