Biological Sciences


Jason Kolbe

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences




Alcoholism/Abuse/Public Health/Treatment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


Alcoholism is a chronic issue that affects over 3 million people per year in the United States. It is characterized by an individual who is physiologically dependent on alcohol to the point where they cannot carry out common social activities such as having friends or holding down a job. Approximately 88,000 people die per year due to alcohol related events. The economic impact due to hospital bills, criminal justice costs, and lost productivity of the abuser is estimated at $400 billion annually. Alcohol abuse can be used as a coping mechanism in adolescents who are struggling with behavioral health issues that could eventually lead to long-term abuse and lowered life expectancy. Given the harsh effects alcohol use can have on society, it is important to address this issue from a public health point of view where we can confront the direct causes and put in place prevention and treatment programs at the national, state, and local levels. Rhode Island is a densely populated state that has issues with substance abuse and alcohol abuse in particular. A 2015 CDC study showed that 17% of Rhode Island adults admitted to binge drinking in the past month. This is in between the highest (North Dakota at 24.9%) and lowest (Utah at 11.4%) prevalences. The focus of this research is to understand alcohol abuse disorder and research the causes, complications, and treatment options. An overall theme is to understand what Rhode Island could do better in terms of prevention and treatment options. The research done in this article will be supplemented by interviews with healthcare workers who work directly with alcohol abuse patients. Studies have shown that screening children for alcohol abuse risk factors, implementing more residential inpatient treatment centers and decreasing alcohol outlets may lower the alcohol abuse prevalence.