Alcohol use and abuse is a cross-cutting issue impacting the public health, criminal justice, and public safety arenas. A highly regulated and legal product, alcohol nonetheless exacts a huge toll on society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006—about $1.90 per drink. Alcohol consumption has been implicated in the development of diseases such as liver disease and a variety of cancers along with exacerbation of existing diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. Among women, excessive drinking may increase the risk of childbirth complications and increases the risk of having a baby with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). In addition, drinking to excess puts others at risk of injury and death through, for example, impaired driving, violence, and sexually transmitted diseases.

PIRE has been a national and international leader in efforts to understand the physical and behavioral effects of alcohol and prevent adverse consequences of alcohol use and abuse. Applying cutting-edge and integrated approaches such as geospatial mapping of alcohol-related crime, PIRE continues to break new ground in discovering how alcohol abuse contributes to deaths, injuries, disease, crime, and social disorder and what policies and programs can prevent alcohol-related problems. We also provide training and technical assistance to states and communities on alcohol-related issues.

PIRE’s research interests are wide ranging and include:

  • Alcohol’s effects on driving performance
  • Binge drinking among underage and young adult drinkers
  • Correlations between alcohol consumption and criminal behavior
  • Health disparities related to alcohol use and misuse
  • Best practices in prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse and alcoholism