Externalities from alcohol consumption in the 2005 US National Alcohol Survey: implications for policy

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Dec;6(12):3205-24. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6123205. Epub 2009 Dec 11.


A subsample (n = 2,550) of the 2005 US National Alcohol Survey of adults was used to estimate prevalence and correlates of six externalities from alcohol abuse--family problems, assaults, accompanying intoxicated driver, vehicular accident, financial problems and vandalized property--all from another's drinking. On a lifetime basis, 60% reported externalities, with a lower 12-month rate (9%). Women reported more family/marital and financial impacts and men more assaults, accompanying drunk drivers, and accidents. Being unmarried, older, white and ever having monthly heavy drinking or alcohol problems was associated with more alcohol externalities. Publicizing external costs of drinking could elevate political will for effective alcohol controls.

Keywords: US; alcohol consumption; cost; economics; environment; externalities; heavy drinking; impact; policy; population survey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / economics
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / economics
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult