By: Daniel Allan, M.D.
A glass of grog, eggnog, or other alcoholic drink is frequently part of the holiday festivities. While knocking back a tall one it may be healthy to be aware of the cost of alcohol consumption to our state. First, how much can do we drink? New Mexicans put away 475 million cans of beer a year. That’s enough for a six pack a week for every man, woman and child in the state. The drinking habits of the state are estimated to cost $1 million, about $600 per person and more than the budget of Los Alamos National Laboratories. Of course, the real cost to society is for more than the purchase price of booze. New Mexico has the highest incidence of all state for alcohol-related deaths, six times the national average, Our alcoholism rate is thee times the national average. Sixty percent of motor vehicle fatalities in the state involve alcohol. It is estimated that four out of five New Mexicans will be involved in an alcohol-related accident sometime during their life. Because our state refuses to enforce automobile liability insurance requirements, chances are that the drunk driver will be uninsured as well. Two-thirds of homicide victims have alcohol in them. Their killers probably do too, but they don’t wait around for a blood test. Alcohol is the most frequent cause of birth defects in the state, a cause that is completely preventable. Eighty percent of those arrested for domestic violence are drinking, as are half of those arrested for rape. More than 40 percent of our high school students report both binge drinking and riding in a vehicle driven by a drinking driver. Of course – not YOUR child.
And you say you’re worried about the costs of health care? HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON.
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