You can go back to the earliest records of crime in America and find plenty of references to extreme alcohol use. America is a country settled by the poor and working class (and a considerable number of convicts from England) who brought their love of liquor with them. Criminal activity throughout this country’s history was probably fueled by people high on alcohol and eventually drugs that were once legal substances.
There are three recent reports on drug and alcohol use in Crime in America.Net and they are summarized here to get a comprehensive overview:
- One- third of Americans are moderate to heavy drinkers; approximately 100 million Americans
- 25 million Americans are (at a minimum) yearly drug users
- 125 million out of a population of 309 million Americans use some substance on a fairly frequent to yearly basis
- Total yearly cost from alcohol and drugs is approximately 343 million dollars a year
And America wonders why it has crime and related social problems? Considering that many of these 125 million use multiple substances on a fairly frequent basis and that over 50 percent of criminal offenders claim mental health issues (diagnosable mental health cases hover around 16 percent) then one can summarize that crime and related social ills will only be effectively addressed through massive treatment or society effectively policing itself to discourage substance use or abuse.
Anyone taking bets as to which comes first?
Nearly two-thirds (61%) of U.S. adults are current drinkers, according to 2005 to 2007 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of drinkers were infrequent (11 drinks or less in the past year) or light (3 drinks or less per week).
Around one-fourth were moderate drinkers and 8% were heavier drinkers. Men were more likely than women to not only be current drinkers (68% vs. 55%), but also to be moderate or heavier current drinkers (28% vs. 12%).
In addition, the prevalence of current drinking increased with education, from 44% for adults with less than a high school diploma to 74% for adults with a graduate degree (data not shown).
Although drug use remained relatively stable from 2007 through 2008, more than 25 million individuals 12 years or age and older reported using an illicit drug or using a controlled prescription drug (CPD) nonmedically in 2008.
In 2009, midlevel and retail drug distribution in the United States was dominated by more than 900,000 criminally active gang members representing approximately 20,000 street gangs in more than 2,500 cities.
Costs of Substance Abuse:
- Alcohol abuse cost the Nation $191.6 billion
- Drug abuse cost the Nation $151.4 billion.