Alcohol doesn’t just affect the person drinking it. According to the Alcohol Research Group, around 1 in 5 Americans are harmed as a result of someone else’s drinking every year.

Researchers analyzed US national survey data from 2015 and saw that 23% of men and 21% of women experienced significant harm due to someone else’s drinking. Harmful effects included harassment, physical aggression, property destruction, family and financial problems. 

The team saw that women were more likely to report family and financial problems, while men were more likely to report physical aggression and property destruction.

Additionally, researchers found that certain groups were at a higher risk of experiencing harm due to another person’s drinking: people under age 25 and those who drink themselves, especially heavy drinkers.

The researchers insist that increased taxes on alcohol could reduce excessive drinking and, in turn, the harm it causes others. 


Madhabika, N. B., Patterson, D., Wilsnack, S., et al (2019, June 30). Alcohol’s Secondhand Harms in the United States: New Data on Prevalence and Risk Factors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Retrieved from