Alcohol use in young adults has shown to be associated with impairments in verbal learning, memory, and attention [USAPAS30], and is predictive of emotional, social, behavioral, and academic problems. [USAPAS31]  Alcohol use has a clear association with depression; in fact, having an alcohol use disorder at least doubles the risk of having depression. [USAPA32]  Other mental health conditions have links to alcohol use, including other drug use [USAPA33and anxiety. [USAPA34]

Alcohol use is also strongly associated with crime. Data show that approximately 3 million violent crimes occur each year with an intoxicated offender; of the 5.3 million convicted offenders involved in the criminal justice system in 1996, 36% (2 million) had been drinking at the time of the offense. [USAPAS35]


USAPA30 - Spear LP (2018). Effects of adolescent alcohol consumption on the brain and behaviour. Nature Rev Neurosci. 19(4):197–214 ( nrn.2018.10, accessed 13 August 2018).

USAPA31 - Brown SA, McGue M, Maggs J, Schulenberg J, Hingson R, Swartzwelder S et al. (2008). A developmental perspective on alcohol and youths 16 to 20 years of age. Pediatrics. 121(Supp 4):S290–310 (, accessed 13 August 2018).
 Windle M, Spear L, Fuligni A, Angold A, Brown J, Pine D et al. (2008). Transitions into underage and problem drinking: developmental processes and mechanisms between 10 and 15 years of age. Pediatrics. 121(Suppl 4):S273–89 ( pubmed/18381494, accessed 13 August 2018).

USAPA32 - Boden JM, Fergusson DM (2011). Alcohol and depression. Addiction. 106:906–14


USAPA34 - Kushner, M. G., Abrams, K., & Borchardt, C. (2000). The relationship between anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders: a review of major perspectives and findings. Clinical psychology review, 20(2), 149-171.

USAPA35 - Greenfeld, L. A. (1998). Alcohol and crime: An analysis of national data on the prevalence of alcohol involvement in crime.Streissguth, A.P., Barr, H.M., Kogan, J. & Bookstein, F. L., Understanding the occurrence of secondary disabilities in clients with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). Final report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seattle: University of Washington, Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit; August 1996. Tech. Rep. No. 96-06.



The U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance (USAPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization translating alcohol policy research into public health practice. The Alliance is committed to ensuring that local and statewide organizations engaging in alcohol policy initiatives have access to the science, resources and technical assistance, including support for organizing efforts, required to engage in informed decisions and actions in translating alcohol policy research into public health practice.

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