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It is estimated that deaths related to alcohol consumption (liver failure, strokes, driving) reach about 100,000 people per year. To put this into perspective, it is also estimated that in 2002 over 16,000 people died from all drug overdoses combined. In other words, although alcohol is a legal drug, it is far more accessible and even more dangerous to the body over a long period of time (it should also be considered that those abusing drugs are usually drinking in conjunction with their drug use). A frightening statistic, according to Mother's Against Drunk Driving, is that alcohol consumption/abuse is responsible for the death(s) of 6.5 times more teenagers than all other combined drugs. Also, even though drinking socially is a common occurrence, about 18 percent of the population will eventually struggle with an alcohol abuse problem.
These statistics may seem high, and that is because the alcohol related, societal and health problems are quite severe. So don't be fooled by a fancy label or a beautiful woman sipping a chardonnay. The realities can certainly be less romantic.