Are Texans Prone to Alcoholism?

Texas statistics of drinking and driving suggest the state has a serious alcohol abuse problem. In 2014 (the most recent year with available data) 1,446 Texans lost their lives in alcohol-related automobile and motorcycle accidents, putting the state in first place in this dubious category. Among the drivers responsible for these accidents, more than 70% had blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels of at least .15, which is almost twice the legal limit. Even more notably, every single one of these drivers was identified by Texas law enforcement as a repeat drunk-driving offender. Overall 39.5% of the state’s fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2014 involved alcohol, and that is right in line with the numbers for the nation as a whole. Texas has the second-largest population of any state, and that is one reason why its drunk driving death rates are so high.

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse in Texas

Whatever else they may represent, the statistics on drinking and driving for Texas do not mean the state is consuming alcohol at prodigious levels, nor does it mean Texas has a significant problem with alcoholism. As of 2014 the state’s alcoholism rates were just slightly below the national figures, at 6.5% to 6.6%. And the percentage of Texans aged 12 and older who consume alcohol is actually lower than the national average. Nevertheless, the state does have a legitimate reason to be concerned about its levels of drunk driving. The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which studied adolescent exposure to drugs and alcohol across the nation, found that 26.2% of high school students in Fort Worth and 28.1% in Houston were riding at least once a month with a driver who had been drinking. In contrast, only 20% of adolescents reported this nationally, a significant difference that suggests a lack of awareness among Texans about the dangers of mixing alcohol and driving.

Drinking, Driving, Alcoholism and the Treatment Solution

Although Texas does not have a unique problem with alcoholism or excessive drinking, much work still needs to be done to reduce drunk driving in the state. For the most part, however, the alcohol-related behavior of Texans is no different from residents of other states. What can be said with authority is that Texans struggling with alcohol use disorders need treatment for alcohol addiction, and fortunately high-quality treatment services are available throughout the state. Arrests or accidents related to drunk driving are one clear sign of alcohol abuse, and those who’ve experienced trouble with drinking and driving would be wise to seek an evaluation for substance abuse from an addiction treatment specialist. Sources Proceedings of the Community Epidemiology Working Group: Substance Abuse Trends in Texas, June 2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, United States 2015

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