Alcoholism Across The Nation: Pennsylvania
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".

Pennsylvania Alcohol Abuse Statistics

Within the United States, alcohol and substance abuse is a growing epidemic.  Alcohol and substance abuse has a tremendous impact on state’s resources.  This article outlines how the impact of alcoholism in Pennsylvania.

Youth and Alcohol Abuse

When a young individual engages in activities (i.e. parties and sporting events) that are associated with underage drinking, it can increase the potential of alcohol dependence and abuse.  Alcohol abuse among youths is related to higher rates of suicide, homicide, accidents (drowning and traumatic brain injury), alcohol poisoning, sexual abuse and fetal alcohol syndrome.

In 2013, underage drinking cost the State of Pennsylvania $2.4 billion.  The $2.4 billion price tag included costs that involved medical insurance payments, pain and suffering associated with alcohol abuse and loss of employment compensation.

Some important factors of underage drinking in Pennsylvania include:

  • $1,942 per year/per youth
  • $3.21 per drink taken by a youth
  • $195.2 million in medical costs associated with underage drinking
  • $576.5 million in loss of employment compensation associated with underage drinking
  • $1.56 billion in pain and suffering associated with underage drinking

Each year, there are approximately 499,000 of the youth population consuming alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania.  A report published in 2009 indicated:

  • 5% of youth consumed at least one drink during their lifetime
  • 4% of youth consumed at least one drink during a 30 day period
  • 9% of youth experienced binge drinking during a 30 day period
  • Youth in Pennsylvania consume on the average of 4 drinks per day

In 2012, youth in Pennsylvania accounted for 11.8% of alcohol purchased which is equivalent to $665 million in sales.  Each state receives a number ranking the percentage of alcohol involved in underage drinking.  Pennsylvania has been ranked $9 in underage drinking.

Crimes committed by youth in Pennsylvania which have been attributed to underage drinking include:

  • In 2012, 45 deaths were from motor vehicle accidents and 2,452 non-fatal vehicle accidents involved underage drinking
  • In 2012, underage drinking was a contributing factor in 44 homicides, 19,300 crimes such as rape, robbery and assault and 24,900 crimes such as bulgur, car thefts and arson.
  • In 2012, youth consumption of alcohol attributed to 467,000 crimes committed in public (vandalism, drunken disorderly complaints and convictions, break in curfew guidelines and lurking)
  • In 2011, underage drinking was a contributing factor in 5 burns, drowning and suicides
  • In 2013, underage drinking was the contributing factor in 1094 teenage pregnancies and 20,420 cases of sexual involvement among teenagers

Adult Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Poisoning

A study published by Duke Medicine News in 2009 revealed that adults living in Pennsylvania experience extreme medical problems associated with binge drinking.  Binge drinking increases the development of stroke, heart disease, liver disease, damage to the nerves and alcohol poisoning.

Adults living in Pennsylvania can experience alcohol poisoning after binge drinking episodes.  Some facts about binge drinking leading to alcohol poisoning include:

  • 2% of men living in Pennsylvania between the ages of 50 and older are classified can be considered binge drinkers
  • 6% of women living in Pennsylvania between the ages of 50 and older are considered binge drinkers
  • 3 or more drinks consumed by women in one episode and 4 or more drinks in one episode consumed can lead to binge drinking

Alcoholics Seeking Treatment in Pennsylvania

According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, Pennsylvania has a very low rate of drug and alcohol admissions throughout the United Sates.  Some important factors about drug and alcohol rehab admissions in Pennsylvania are:

  • 22% of admissions to drug and alcohol rehab programs are related to alcoholism
  • 446 rehabs for drug and alcohol programs are located in Pennsylvania. Out fo the 446 rehabs, 317 are private, non-profit and 114 are private, for profit
  • 55% of admissions to rehab programs involve programs with alcohol and drug

The Center for Diseases and Control reports that some people who experience binge drinking episodes are not considered to be an alcoholic or have a strong dependence on alcohol.

Alcohol Statistics Improving

Because of the access of treatment and resources for alcohol abuse, there has been a decrease in alcohol related illnesses and fatalities in Pennsylvania.  Binge drinking in young adults was at an all time high in Pennsylvania because of the availability of beverages mixed with alcohol and caffeine.  Since a ban was put in place on these beverages, there has been a decrease in binge drinking episodes among young adults living in Pennsylvania.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of articles “Alcoholism Across The Nation” that puts a spotlight on 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 our Managing Editor [email protected] with the subject line “Guest Contributor”, or just leave us a comment below.

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