Alcohol affects society negatively in many ways. There are great financial costs as a result of its frequent abuse. The family structure on which a healthy society rests is attacked by alcohol’s use. Businesses are affected by employees’ absenteeism or their inability to work as effectively. Students’ educations are hampered, which will affect the society’s future in a negative way. Many types of crime are encouraged or aggravated because of alcohol. The emotional cost to society at various levels is probably not measurable, yet it is very real.
The effects of alcohol on driving safety are well-documented. An organization called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) lists some sobering statistics (MADD, “Statistics”, http://madd.org/statistics/):Alcohol use by teens kills about 6,000 every year, which is more than all illegal drugs combined. In 2009, deaths from alcohol-related crashes averaged one every 50 minutes. Drunk driving costs every adult in our country about $500 per year. One out every three people will be in an alcohol-related crash at least once in their lifetime. On the average, one person is injured every minute due to alcohol-related crashes. One out of every five teens binge drink, even though only one out of one hundred parents believe their teen does that. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and one out of three is alcohol-related. High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school or believe that grades aren’t important.
These statistics make it clear that alcohol is not good for society.
Another website gives information from as far back as 1996, which indicates that alcohol’s negative effects have been a continuing problem (see 1800DUIlaws, “Economic Effects of Drinking and Driving – DUI Cost” at http://1800duilaws.com/common/econeffects.asp). The following statements are found on their site:Alcohol-related crashes account for 35% of crash costs in the United States, and they are deadlier and more serious. In 1996, 45% of all fatal injury costs in car accidents were alcohol-related as well as 26% of non-fatal injury costs. People other than the drunk driver have to pay almost half of the costs that result from alcohol-related car accidents. In 1999, 16% of payments made by auto insurance companies were due to alcohol-related crashes. Also in 1999, the monetary cost to society was 80 cents per drink consumed. 40 cents of that was paid by people other than the drunk drivers. Injured survivors of alcohol-related crashes must bear the cost of health care and lost productivity.
Alcohol’s abuse has not only destroyed some families, it has also taken away a happy, healthy home life for many others. Since a strong society must be based on strong families, our society is undoubtedly crippled by alcohol.
Some businesses and industries regularly have to deal with employees missing work because of alcohol abuse. But because alcohol impairs the thinking processes of the brain, how much work would be done better without alcohol’s influence? It is probably impossible to determine, but it most certainly has a negative effect on the workplace and therefore on society as a whole.
Students’ learning can be hindered by many factors, but alcohol is one of the most hurtful. Binge drinking is prevalent on many college campuses, and there is no telling how much it takes away from students’ learning and preparation for the future. That is another undetermined drain on society both now and in years to come.
Crime is often alcohol-related. Often people gain courage to commit a crime by using alcohol. Violence is caused or increased because people drink alcohol. The negative effects of crime on all levels of society are a concern for all well-meaning people.
If there are any benefits to society of alcohol use, it is far outweighed by the negative effects on people of every kind. These effects are not only of concern today but also for our society’s future.