Impacts of High Risk Drinking

[title size=”2″]Personal Impacts[/title]

Impact of alcohol on personal health


Underage and binge drinking impact our physical and mental health in many ways. [checklist]


Impact of alcohol on athletics

Athletics and Alcohol

Deschutes County is well known as a hot spot for athletes of all types – golfers, rock climbers, runners, horseback riders, skier and snowboarders, and cyclists to name a few. In our quest for athletic success, what do we need to know about alcohol’s impact on our performance?



Legal impact of alcohol


MIP. DUII. Furnishing Alcohol to Minors. Serving alcohol to Visibly Intoxicated Persons. These are just a few of the legal terms for alcohol–related violations and crimes.



Impact of alcohol on relationships


Can you name one person close to you who has been negatively impacted by alcohol abuse? Most of us have encountered or experienced the havoc created by alcohol abuse in our personal relationships. [accordian][toggle title=”Learn more” open=”no”] According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:

  • Social problem, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Physical and sexual assault.
  • Higher risk for suicide and homicide.

From our own personal experience, we can see many other disruptive behaviors which often accompany alcohol and other substance abuse: manipulation, lies, denial, distrust, lack of follow-through, emotional abuse, physical abuse, etc. While the absence of alcohol abuse in a relationship does not guarantee the absence of these behaviors, alcohol abuse can certainly complicate a relationship.


Impact of alcohol on employment


The bottom line at any work place is directly impacted by underage and binge drinking. [accordian][toggle title=”Learn more” open=”no”] When intoxicated or hung-over, your performance on the job suffers. Need that job? Drinking while at work, binge drinking prior to your shift and even being in a close relationship with someone else who exhibits these behaviors will negatively impact your job. The SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment* lists the following consequences associated with alcohol and drug abuse:

“While some of the costs associated with employee drug or alcohol problems are easy to quantify, others are much harder to measure. All, however, are real.

  • Healthcare costs are excessive. Healthcare costs for employees with alcohol problems are twice as high as those for other employees.
  • Risk increases. People who abuse drugs or alcohol are three and one-half times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident, resulting in increased workers’ compensation and disability claims.
  • Other workers suffer. Fourteen percent of employees in one survey said they had to re-do work within the preceding year because of a co-worker’s drinking.
  • Employed relatives pay.More than half of working family members of alcoholics report that their own ability to function at work and at home was negatively impacted by their family member’s drinking.
  • Absenteeism increases.Alcoholism is estimated to cost 500 million lost workdays annually.
  • Employment is less stable. Individuals who are current illicit drug users are more than twice as likely (12.3 percent) as those who are not (5.1 percent) to have changed employers three or more times in the past year.”

*Source: Issue Brief #7 For Employers: What You Need to Know About the Cost of Substance Abuse.   Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.


Impact of alcohol on your education


Don’t let your quest for academic success get derailed by underage and binge drinking.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control*, youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:

  • School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
  • Memory problems.
  • Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control Fact Sheets – Underage Drinking

National research reveals correlations between academic performance and alcohol/drug use.



The 2012 Oregon Student Wellness Survey results also show a correlation between academic success and abstinence from alcohol use or binge drinking. Of the students who earned mostly A’s, 88 percent did NOT report using alcohol in the past 30 days. The percentage of students who used alcohol in the past 30 days increases as the academic performance declines.

Figure 1. 2012 Oregon Student Wellness Survey for middle and high school students.




[title size=”2″]Community Impacts[/title]

[accordian][toggle title=”Community Livability” open=”no”]

The livability of a community is determined by many factors. Alcohol abuse negatively impacts most of those key factors.

The economic vitality of our community interconnects with the quality of our schools, the skill and dependability of our workforce, as well as the safety and health of our residents. Visitors are attracted to communities where safety is valued and fostered.

By reducing high risk drinking, we can:

  • Reduce crime (at least 80 percent of crimes involve alcohol or other drug use)
  • Increase high school and post-secondary education completion rates
  • Decrease traffic crashes (motor vehicle and bicycle) due to DUII
  • Increase revenue due to the low productivity of employees
  • Decrease costs associated with on-the-job accidents, turn-over, absenteeism, etc.


[toggle title=”Education” open=”no”]

The success of our educational institutions is directly tied to the success of their students.

Deschutes County is home to three school districts, many private schools, numerous post-secondary education and training institutions, and we are actively pursuing the expanded presence of OSU-Cascades in Bend. Underage and binge drinking negatively impacts student success. Even if we don’t have children or young adults in school, our community’s success is tied to our ability to foster the most healthy learning environment possible. Employees of today and tomorrow are being cultivated right here in our schools.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention created a report called “Schools and the Community Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Environment: Opportunities for Prevention”.




[toggle title=”Traffic Safety” open=”no”]

DUII is not only an issue for people who are driving. Intoxicated pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, or anyone else on our roadways can contribute to hazardous situations.

Between 2006-2010, there were 89 motor vehicle fatalities in the County – 41 of these fatalities involved alcohol (DUII Data Book for Oregon Counties, Oregon Dept. of Transportation).

The City of Bend recently determined that Bend had a higher amount of speeding and DUII types of crashes than the comparison communities of Springfield, Medford and Corvallis. According to the 2012-14 Multimodal Traffic Safety Program report, “46% of alcohol or drug related crashes result in death or injury” (pg. 4). In fact, “Bend has a higher amount of fatalities compared to other communities – Bend = 24; Corvallis = 2 (pg. 10). One third of the fatal crashes in Bend involved a pedestrian or a bicyclist (pg.11).”

[fontawesome icon=”download-alt” circle=”no” size=”medium”]City of Bend Multimodal Traffic Safety Program 2012-2014

Commute Options, a regional non-profit agency provides a two-hour bicycle diversion program to educate cyclists who are cited for violating traffic laws (including DUII, or in this case, cycling under the influence of intoxicants).




[toggle title=”Crime” open=”no”]

A significant portion of law enforcement calls-for-service can be related to alcohol abuse (anywhere between 15 to 80 percent, depending on the time of day or night). Consider the public resources devoted to responding to these incidents, whether they be emergency calls or nuisance calls. For individuals in the 18-24 year old age range alone, there were an average of 218 DUII arrests in Deschutes County between 2005 – 2009. During the same period, for 18-20 year olds, there were an average of 226 arrests for Minor in Possession of Alcohol (Deschutes County Community Needs Assessment Workbook, February 2011). These statistics only scratch the surface of the alcohol-related incidents in Deschutes County.


[toggle title=”Work Productivity & Safety” open=”no”]

Nearly 60% of Oregon employers, large and small, say that on-the-job substance abuse is of great concern (WorkDrugFree Oregon: An Oregon Business Plan Initiative).

[fontawesome icon=”download-alt” circle=”no” size=”medium”]WorkDrugFree Oregon: An Oregon Business Plan Initiative

“Alcohol abuse alone cost Oregon’s economy approximately $3.244 billion in 2006” – a value that is “approximately EIGHT TIMES greater than the $395 million in tax revenues collected in the fiscal year 2006 from the sale of alcohol”.

According to the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, “younger workers are more likely than their older counterparts to drink heavily, binge drink (see definitions in chart) and use illicit drugs. These behaviors can lead to increased absenteeism, poor job performance, and increased accidents and injuries on the job.

[fontawesome icon=”download-alt” circle=”no” size=”medium”]Issue Brief for Employers: What You Need to Know About Younger Workers and Substance Abuse


[toggle title=”Healthcare Costs” open=”no”]

Preventable injury. Long-term health consequences. Depression. Alcohol abuse impacts many facets of our healthcare costs.

Oregon’s death rate from alcohol-induced disease is 80% higher than the US rate. Oregonians die from alcohol-induced disease in their early to mid-fifties. Between 2000 and 2007, Oregon’s chronic liver disease rates increased by 29.5%. In contrast, the mortality rate for the U.S. declined by 4.2%. 80% of all chronic liver disease deaths in Oregon were due to alcohol.*

With these startling statistics, it may come as no surprise that adult heavy alcohol use in Oregon is higher than the US rate. Oregon’s per capita alcohol consumption is 12% higher than the US rate.* Our alcohol use and abuse is impacting our healthcare system – both physical and mental health services.

*SOURCE: Oregon State Incentive Grant Plan, June 2011. Oregon Health Authority, Addictions and Mental Health Division.


[toggle title=”Additional Binge Drinking Community Impacts” open=”no”]

Research on binge drinking is available at the CDC’s weekly digest, called “Science Clips”. This online bibliographic digest featuring scientific articles and publications, is shared with the public health community each week, to enhance awareness of emerging scientific knowledge.




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