Community Facts

Costs to our Society


70% of those incarcerated in our prisons are there for drug and alcohol related crimes (Birmingham Chief of Police A.C. Roper and Department of Corrections)

Domestic Violence and Abuse

75% of domestic violence and abuse is caused by drug abuse (Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University)


54% of the chronic homeless in our area have substance abuse issues (Birmingham Plan to Prevent and End Chronic Homelessness) 

Healthcare Costs

Substance abuse is the number one health issue facing America today (Center for Disease Control, Atlanta)
41% of US women infected with HIV contracted the virus through needle sharing (Minnesota Department of Health)

25-40% of all patients in US hospital beds are treated for complications of alcohol-related problems (CASA)

25% of healthcare costs of the Greatest Generation stem from substance abuse (Office of National Drug Control Policy) 

School Dropout Rates

47% of high school dropouts are alcohol related, 22% are drug related (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) 

Teen Suicides

60% are drug and/or alcohol related (National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center)

Business Costs

$81 billion annually in lost productivity (ONDCP)

The Local Reality

Percentage of 6th-8th grade students using on a daily basis:         
                    State               National
Alcohol        2.6%                 1.4%
Drugs         1.8%                  2.4%
This means there is one student in each class  

Percentage of 9th-12th grade students using on a daily basis:         
                     State               National
Alcohol        4.5%                  3.7%
Drugs          7.5%                  7.3%
This means there are two students in each class
(2010 PRIDE Survey Report-Alabama)   

122,223 people need treatment and only 13,079 are receiving treatment (11%)
(State of Alabama Department of Mental Health Region 2–14 county area including Jefferson County)  

Alabama is #41 out of 45 in per capita spending on prevention, treatment and research
Alabama is #4 out of 45 in the “burden” of substance abuse – the social costs

Public Awareness

There have been dramatic increases year-over-year (2009 over 2008) in monthly usage rates for students in grades 9-12: 
        Alcohol         up 11%
        Marijuana     up 19%
        Ecstasy        up 67%  

There is also a growing belief the drug and alcohol use are more socially acceptable:
        “Friends get high at parties” – increased to 75% from 69%
        “Being high feels good” – increased to 51% from 45%
        “Don’t want to hang around drug users” – down to 30% from 35%
(2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study – Released March 2, 2010 by Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the MetLife Foundation)

Children who begin drinking before age 15 are 5 times more likely than those who start after 21 to develop alcohol addictions. The chances of becoming dependent decrease by 14% for each year that alcohol use is delayed. (SAMHSA Facts)

Prescription Pain Killer Epidemic
(Sources: The Medicine Abuse Project; GETTING SMART about Teen Medicine Abuse)  

44% of teens have at least one friend who abuses prescription drugs

Unintentional drug overdoses in the US now outnumber traffic fatalities, due in large part to the increases in prescription drug abuse

By the time teens reach their senior year of high school, 20% will have abused prescription painkillers; 9% will have abused sedatives and tranquilizers; 10% will have misused prescriptions from ADHD

65% of teens who abuse medications get them from home or friends

One person dies every 19 minutes from drug overdose in the US

The Value of Treatment

$7 social cost savings for each $1 spent  

CASA – 17 state study – $9 per $1 spent  

CASA – Treatment versus incarceration – 10% staying substance and crime free and employed is breakeven versus cost of prison (02.26.10)