Reflect for a moment...
Did you realize that even though you may not abuse alcohol, use illicit drugs, or smoke or chew tobacco, these substances have an overwhelming impact on the person you see in the mirror each day?
You pay the bill for both the direct and indirect costs of substance abuse.
This "bill" costs South Carolina approximately $2.5 billion a year.
And it costs you, regardless of whether you consider yourself an "abuser." Every person in this state (ages 18 and older) pays almost $1,000 a year to cover the costs associated with alcohol and other drug abuse. These costs are reflected in artificially increased prices for all goods and services (because abusers are absent from work more often and are less productive when they are there); higher taxes (for additional police and jails to deal with drunk driving and other drug-related arrests); property losses (due to thefts for drug money or car crashes); and higher healthcare costs (to cover the cost of abusers who use the healthcare system more extensively).
There is a solution: prevention and treatment work
While more than 50,000 South Carolinians receive alcohol or other drug treatment each year through the county alcohol and drug abuse authorities, this represents only a fraction of the more than 310,000 individuals in our state who are currently experiencing problems that warrant intervention and treatment, 55,000 of whom are between the ages of 12 and 17.
To learn more about the impact of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on nearly every facet of your life, read on...
1) Substance Abuse Drives Up Healthcare Costs
2) Alcohol and Other Drugs Are Partners in Crime
- Excess healthcare and treatment costs associated with the use of alcohol total approximately $149 million a year in this state. South Carolinians pay an additional $46 million a year in excess healthcare and treatment costs associated with the use of other drugs.
- The average alcohol or other drug abuser in South Carolina incurs healthcare costs at a rate two to seven times greater than that of non-abusers.
- Hospital costs for alcohol abusers in South Carolina are five times higher than for non-abusers. Hospital costs for other drug abusers are seven times higher than for non-abusers.
- More than 70 conditions requiring hospitalization are attributable in whole or in part to substance abuse, including HIV/AIDS, liver disease, hypertension, coronary heart disease, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, oral cavity cancer, pneumonia and respiratory diseases.
- There is a strong association between the overall level of alcohol consumption in South Carolina and the death rate from liver cirrhosis. As alcohol consumption increases, so does the number of deaths from cirrhosis. Deaths from many other causes, such as cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, also are linked to alcohol use.
- Alcohol-related accidents and illnesses account for 11 percent of all deaths in South Carolina. Each year, approximately 3,500 South Carolinians die from alcohol-related causes while about 350 die from causes related to the use of all other drugs.
- Among young people ages 15 to 24, alcohol use is the major cause of death. Of all deaths in this age group each year, 45 percent are due to alcohol use, primarily alcohol-related car crashes, while 9 percent are attributable to the use of all other drugs.
3) Substance Abuse Has a Devastating Impact on Families
- More than 50 percent of all inmates ages 17 to 29 who are incarcerated in South Carolina's correctional facilities have been under the influence of alcohol or other drugs when they committed their particular crimes.
- Almost 33 percent of all inmates in South Carolina admit to having serious problems with alcohol or other drugs.
- More than two-thirds of all burglaries, more than three-fourths of all murders and almost one-half of all rapes are committed while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Alcohol- and other drug-related arrests account for about 35 percent of all arrests made in South Carolina each year.
- According to coroners' reports, about 68 percent of all South Carolinians killed in car crashes were drinking prior to their crashes.
- Child abuse and neglect, incest, domestic violence, suicides, homicides and homelessness are a few of the many problems that can be linked directly to alcohol and other drug abuse.
- One in four South Carolinians experiences family problems related to alcohol or other drug abuse.
- More than one-half of all cases of homelessness are related to alcohol and/or other drug abuse.
- Almost half of all alcoholic families in South Carolina have neglected or abused their children, and almost two-thirds of all partner abuse cases are alcohol-related.
- Almost one-fifth of all adults say that they lived with a problem drinker or an alcoholic when they were children.
- Children in alcoholic families exhibit emotional and adjustment difficulties and are up to four times more likely than other children to develop alcoholism themselves.
- Children whose parents smoke cigarettes have more health problems than do children of non-smokers.
- When alcohol, tobacco and/or other drugs are used by men or women prior to conceiving a child, or by women during pregnancy, their babies can be born with costly birth defects, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
- More than 15,000 babies are born each year in South Carolina to mothers who used alcohol or illegal or non-prescribed drugs during pregnancy. This represents roughly one in every four infants born in this state each year.
4) The Workplace Carries Much of the Burden
- In addition to higher healthcare costs, employers incur other costs related to workplace injuries, higher employee turnover and lost productivity among substance-abusing employees.
- The average abuser in South Carolina is injured on the job two to five times more often than a non-abuser.
- The average abuser is 26 percent to 31 percent less productive than the average non-abusing employee in South Carolina.
- Alcohol and other drug abuse in South Carolina is a factor in 33 percent to 39 percent of all insubordination problems and product or service quality problems.
5) The Good News Is That Prevention and Treatment Work
- Like many other diseases, alcohol and/or other drug dependence is a chronic, debilitating, relapsing and often fatal disease. And, like so many other diseases, it is both preventable and treatable.
- The costs for prevention and treatment are far less than the cost of ignoring the problem. Specifically, every $1 invested in treatment nets a $4 return in savings associated with the reduction in drug-related crime, criminal justice costs and theft.
- Effective prevention and treatment programs save both lives and money. They offer cost-effective ways to reduce alcohol and other drug use which in turn reduces crime, health and welfare costs, law enforcement costs and unemployment rates.
- Effective prevention and treatment programs improve the health of all South Carolinians--both young and old alike--from all walks of life.
- South Carolina provides a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment services at the community level through 34 county alcohol and drug abuse authorities serving all 46 counties of the state.
- Each year, more than 50,000 individuals receive direct intervention and/or treatment services through the county authorities. Since their creation in 1973, the county authorities have provided direct services to approximately 1 million South Carolinians. And these numbers don't even begin to reflect the millions of other South Carolinians whose lives have been touched by the many prevention activities coordinated by this community-based system of care.