BODY WATCH : TIDBITS : Sobering Facts About Alcohol


* About 10.6 million American adults can be classified as alcoholics. An additional 7.3 million are alcohol abusers, defined as those who have been arrested or involved in an accident, or whose health or job performance has been impaired by out-of-control drinking.

* Alcohol abuse costs about $99 billion annually.

* Alcohol-related family problems strike one of every four homes. Each alcoholic adversely affects four people in his or her immediate environment and 16 other people every day.

* Driving under the influence is the leading single cause of death among teen-agers.

* Half of all suicides involve alcohol.

* Alcoholism is involved in 60% of all murders, 50% of family court problems, 40% of pedestrian fatalities and 38% of child abuse cases.


* About 1.2 million people are injured annually in alcohol-related auto accidents.

* Twenty-five percent to 40% of all hospitalized patients have alcohol-related problems.

* Fetal alcoholism syndrome is one of the top three known causes of birth defects with accompanying mental retardation and the only one that is preventable.

* Sources: Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information; Dr. Nicholas Pace, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.