Massachusetts Alcohol Abuse Statistics
Editor's Note: This is part of a new series of articles "Alcoholism Across The Nation" that features the struggles of alcohol addiction in individual states, cities, towns and communities across the United States. To contribute information, statistics, or a guest post to this series, email [email protected] with the subject line "Guest Contributor".

Massachusetts Alcohol Abuse Statistics

Alcohol and substance abuse is a problem across the entire United States, but the problem differs from state to state. There are different cultural, environmental and social factors that influence an area’s substance abuse patterns. Today we’re going to be looking at Massachusetts and how alcohol abuse is affecting the state.

Alcohol Abuse Among Massachusetts Youth

There are a lot of problems that arise from youth consuming alcohol. States with a high rate of youth alcoholism also tend to have higher rates of homicide, suicide, trauma, violent criminal activity, unprotected sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning and death, and the need for alcohol treatment.

Underage drinking costs the state of Massachusetts a lot. In 2010, underage drinking alone cost the state $1.4 billion – costs that included medical treatment, employer’s compensation, and associated issues arising from alcoholism among youth.

  • This calculates to a cost of about $2,193 per youth, per year.
  • This, in turn, calculates to be about $3.17 per drink, which is more than the cost of an average drink.
  • Costs attributed solely to medical expenses, not including those of associated issues, were $499 million yearly.
  • The next most expensive issues were youth violence at a whopping $959.7 million. Youth traffic crashes came in second at $140.7 million, followed by high-risk sex among teens and youth costing $89.7 million.

There are approximately 303,000 underage alcohol drinkers in Massachusetts. A study in 2009 revealed that:

  • 71.3% of youth had had at least one drink at some point during their life
  • 43.65% had had a drink in the last month
  • 24.5% had had 5+ drinks in the last month
  • Underage drinkers consumed about 15.6% of all the alcohol sold in Massachusetts, spending a total of about $290 million.

The crimes that have been attributed to alcohol abuse among youth in Massachusetts are as follows:

  • In 2009, 13 traffic deaths and 759 traffic injuries were caused by youth drinking.
  • In 2009, there were 21 homicides, 22,500 violent crimes, and 29,900 property crimes such as burglary and arson that could be directly attributed to youth drinking.
  • In 2007, underage drinking caused 5 fatal burns, drownings and suicides.
  • In 2009, there were 357 teen pregnancies that resulted from underage drinking, as well as 20,420 teens engaged in unprotected or dangerous sexual behavior.

Alcohol Abuse & Alcohol Poisoning Among Adults

Massachusetts is known for having a very high rate of mortality as a result of alcohol poisoning. When this statistic first emerged, people assumed it was because of the large number of university-age students who were being irresponsible with their partying. Turns out, it’s actually the middle-aged men who are causing this increase in statistics!

According to a study done by the CDC, looking at data from 2010 to 2012, Massachusetts had 11.9 deaths from alcohol poisoning per 1 million people.

  • This puts it in the top 25% of statistics for US states in regards to deaths caused by alcohol.
  • Of these deaths, 75% were between the ages of 35 and 64.
  • Of these people, roughly 75% were male.
  • 68% were white people (non-Hispanic)
  • Only 5% of the deaths associated with alcohol poisoning were attributed to youths, including college-age students.

Alcoholics Seeking Treatment in Massachusetts

In 2014, there were 104,233 people who were admitted into treatment programs certified by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) in Massachusetts.

  • Of those people, 31.9% sought treatment for alcohol.
  • This is less than the number of people seeking treatment for heroin, which was 53.15%.
  • But it was significantly more than people seeking treatment for cocaine (3.4%), marijuana (4%), other opioid drugs (5.8%) and everything else (1.7%).

The CDC found that the majority of people who binge-drink once in a while are not actually alcoholics or even dependent on alcohol.  This doesn’t denounce the serious nature of a binge-drinking habit, but it suggests that these people may not actually suffer from a serious mental issue.

Alcohol Statistics Are Improving

Back in 2010, an analysis suggested that death rates due to alcohol were increasing in Massachusetts. This was partly attributed to alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko, which are notorious for being high in alcohol content and caffeine. Drinks like this can leave a person awake and functioning long beyond the point that they would have passed out from alcohol poisoning.  These drinks were banned quite quickly, and the rates of alcoholism have severely declined since then.

The amount of violent crime that has resulted from alcohol abuse, as well as the number of people needing to check in to addiction treatment centers, has also continually decreased since 2010.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a new series of articles “Alcoholism Across The Nation” that features the struggles of alcohol addiction in individual states, cities, towns and communities across the United States.  These articles show us what alcoholism really means in America today, both the big picture and on a more local, meaningful level.  To contribute information, statistics, or a guest post to this series, email [email protected] with the subject line “Guest Contributor”.