Alcohol abuse is a major contributor to deaths in the United States, killing approximately 75,000 people each year and shortening the lives of countless others by as much as 30 years. It is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States after tobacco use and poor eating and exercise habits.
These deaths don't take into consideration the fatalities caused by drinking and driving. In 2009, there were 10,839 fatalities in which the driver had a Blood Alcohol Concentration(BAC) of .08 or higher. That number was responsible for 32 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year.
In that same year a total of 1,314 children age 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Of those, 181 (14%) of them were related to alcohol-impaired driving. The 181 children, 92 were occupants of a vehicle with a driver who had a BAC of .08 or higher, and another 27 of them were pedestrians or pedalcyclists struck by drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher.
The statistics go up at night and statistics show that alcohol impaired drivers impacted the fatality rate by 37 percent, whereas daytime accidents involving alcohol were only at 9 percent.
While it's difficult to look at the numbers involved in alcohol related deaths, one has to keep in mind that each one of those numbers is a loved one to someone else.
Recently a 28-year-old man was found dead in the parking lot where some friends had left him to sleep off his drunkenness.
Jesse Allen had moved to Ormond Beach in November of last year. He was found one morning in the parking lot by the rabbi of the synagogue where he'd attended a party the night before.
Ormond Beach police ruled the death as apparent alcohol poisoning and reported "nothing suspicious about the death."
Allen's mother said that her son had e-mailed her of his excitement about going to the Purim celebration. She said that even though they are not of the Jewish faith, her son loved the Jewish tradition and couldn't wait to go and be a part of this event.
Alcohol was not served at the event, but apparently those who attended the celebration brought alcohol of their own. Lynn Allen said her son was working on overcoming an alcohol addiction and she thought he had stopped drinking altogether. She was struggling to understand why her son was left on the grass after the party.
Before he left Pennsylvania, he donated his bicycle - his only mode of transportation - to an Afghanistan veteran who had been on three tours of duty in the war. Allen's mother doesn't blame the rabbi, saying, ""It’s not the rabbi’s fault that my son drank.But as a community we look after each other and in Pennsylvania we are struggling to understand why they left him there."
Alcohol related deaths can come in many forms. If you or someone you know might have a drinking problem, don't wait. Get the help you need today. Don't be a part of the statistics.