Alcoholism is prevalent in Massachusetts and a greater number quality alcohol rehab facilities are currently needed throughout the state. For an individual to have the best possible chance of overcoming an alcohol addiction, the assistance of a Massachusetts alcohol rehabilitation program should be made available as soon as the alcohol abuse problem has been identified. There are various forms of alcohol rehabilitation offered in Massachusetts, including inpatient alcohol rehab programs, outpatient alcohol treatment, short term and long term alcohol rehabilitation, just to name a select few.

In an outpatient alcohol treatment program, the individual from Massachusetts that is being treated will visit the alcohol treatment center on various days of the week for a specific number of hours. Many alcoholics will want to attend a local alcohol rehab in Massachusetts so they can remain close to home, but often times may not turn out to be the best alcohol rehabilitation choice. Very few individuals from Massachusetts that have a serious alcoholism problem can reap long term benefits from such a limited amount of short term care. In a residential alcohol rehab center, the individual from Massachusetts will be able to live full time at the treatment facility; this offers an intense level of alcohol rehabilitation and professional support is available to clients around the clock.

The first step in a quality Massachusetts alcohol rehab program is the alcohol detoxification; this alcohol rehabilitation treatment process is utilized in order to safely manage and minimize the physical withdrawal symptoms that can initially occur when someone suddenly quits abusing alcohol. After detox is completed, an individual from Massachusetts can then begin to focus on the various elements of the alcohol rehabilitation program; these components of the alcohol rehab include counseling, group classes, behavior modification techniques, and drug relapse prevention education. The most important thing to note is that alcohol rehab is essential for anyone in Massachusetts that is serious about overcoming an alcohol addiction.


Massachusetts alcohol related information and statistics are provided by the US Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 2004. In Massachusetts, alcohol related fatalities peaked in 1983, with 409, and then nearly reached the same level in 1986 and 1988, with 405 and 408, respectively. Since then, those numbers have dropped, reaching their lowest level in 2008, with 151 alcohol related fatalities. Also in 2006, out of all traffic fatalities, 34% involved a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

All 50 states in the US now apply two statutory offenses to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The first (and original) offense is known either as driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI), or operating while intoxicated/impaired (OWI). This is based upon a Massachusetts police officer's observations (driving behavior, slurred speech, the results of a roadside sobriety test, etc.) The second offense is called "illegal per se", which is driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Since 2002 it has been illegal in all 50 states to drive with a BAC that is 0.08% or higher.

The table below shows the total number of traffic fatalities (Tot) for the Massachusetts, alcohol related fatalities (Alc-Rel) and fatalities in crashes where the highest BAC in the crash was 0.08 or above (0.08+). It is important to note that the Massachusetts drunk driving statistics, as shown below, include data from individuals in Massachusetts who were in an alcohol-related crash, but not driving a motor vehicle at the time. The U.S. Department of Transportation defines alcohol-related deaths as "fatalities that occur in crashes where at least one driver or non-occupant (pedestrian or bicyclist) involved in the crash has a positive Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) value." The fatality rates shown below refer to the number of people killed in all traffic accidents and, separately, in alcohol related traffic accidents, per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. 

Year

Fatalities

Tot

Alc-Rel

%

0.08+

%

1982

659

407

62

369

56

1983

651

409

63

364

56

1984

666

411

62

362

54

1985

742

390

53

338

46

1986

752

405

54

341

45

1987

689

377

55

331

48

1988

725

408

56

348

48

1989

696

384

55

322

46

1990

605

349

58

304

50

1991

552

288

52

244

44

1992

485

262

54

223

46

1993

475

208

44

175

37

1994

440

212

48

185

42

1995

444

193

43

167

38

1996

417

184

44

154

37

1997

441

198

45

159

36

1998

406

184

45

146

36

1999

414

195

47

161

39

2000

433

216

50

175

40

2001

477

228

48

198

42

2002

459

224

49

191

42

2003

462

207

45

170

37

2004

476

203

43

181

38

2005

442

171

39

150

34

2006

422

159

38

137

32

2007

417

177

42

146

35

2008

363

151

42

124

34



2003-2004 Massachusetts Alcohol Related Issue: Percentage % Ranking

Alcohol Abuse or Dependence

8.45%

[16th of 51]

Alcohol consumption > Binge drinkers

16.9%

[14th of 52]

Alcohol consumption > Casual drinkers

67.4%

[2nd of 52]

Alcohol consumption > Heavy drinkers

6.1%

[7th of 52]

Alcohol related traffic fatalities

203

[29th of 51]

Alcohol related traffic fatalities (per capita)

0.317 per 10,000 people

[48th of 51]

Alcohol related traffic fatalities, as a percentage

43%

[14th of 51]

Alcohol Use in the Past Month

60.99%

[2nd of 51]

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2003-2004, Office of Applied Studies 2003-2004 and the MADD Official Website statistics 2004

When is a driver considered to be legally drunk in Massachusetts?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ in Massachusetts are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles in Massachusetts are legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is .04 percent or greater. Under Massachusetts law, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 in Massachusetts are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or greater.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Massachusetts

  • First-time offenders in Massachusetts face imprisonment for up to two and one-half years, a fine of $500 to $5,000, or both. The driver's license suspension period is 45 to 90 days.
  • A person who commits a second offense in Massachusetts faces imprisonment for 60 days to two and one-half years and a fine of $600 to $10,000. The driver's license revocation period is two years. After one year, the offender may apply for a reinstatement due to hardship. If granted, the offender will be required to use an ignition interlock device for the duration of the hardship license.
  • A person who commits a third offense in Massachusetts faces imprisonment for 180 days to two and one-half years and a fine of $1,000 to $15,000, or imprisonment in a state prison for two and one-half to five years and a fine of $1,000 to $15,000. The driver's license revocation period is eight years. After two years, the offender may apply for a reinstatement due to hardship. If granted, the offender will be required to use an ignition interlock device for the duration of the hardship license.
  • A person who commits a fourth offense in Massachusetts faces imprisonment for two years to two and one-half years and a fine of $1,500 to $25,000, or imprisonment in a state prison for two and one-half to five years and a fine of $1,500 to $25,000. The driver's license suspension period is 10 years. After five years, the offender may apply for a reinstatement due to hardship. If granted, the offender will be required to use an ignition interlock device for the duration of the hardship license.
  • A person who commits a fifth or subsequent offense in Massachusetts faces imprisonment for at least two and one-half years or a fine of $2,000 to $50,000 and imprisonment in a state prison for two and one-half years to five years. The offender's driver's license will be revoked for life.

Enhanced Penalties in Massachusetts for Causing Serious Bodily Injury by Driving While Under the Influence

If a person in Massachusetts drives with a BAC of .08 or greater and causes another person to suffer serious bodily injury, the offender will be punished by imprisonment in a state prison for two and one-half to 10 years and a fine of up to $5,000, or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for six months to two and one-half years and a fine of up to $5,000. Under Massachusetts law, "serious bodily injury" means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or which involves either total disability or the loss or impairment of some bodily function for a substantial time.

Enhanced Penalties in Massachusetts for DUI with a Child 14 or Under in the Vehicle

A person in Massachusetts who drives drunk while a child 14 or under is in the vehicle will be guilty of child endangerment while operating a motor vehicle under the influence. This crime is punishable in Massachusetts by a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and imprisonment in a correctional facility for 90 days to two and one-half years. For a second offense, the Massachusetts offender is subject to pay a fine of $5,000 to $10,000 and imprisonment in a correctional facility for six months to two and one-half years, or by imprisonment in a state prison for three to five years.

Ignition Interlock

Repeat DUI offenders in Massachusetts are required to use an ignition interlock device as a precondition to issuance of a new license following revocation for a period of two years.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties associated with Massachusetts' DUI laws, a commercial driver who is convicted of DUI while operating any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year. If, however, the offender was driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is three years. If a commercial driver in Massachusetts commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle, the offender will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life, which may or may not be reduced to 10 years.

Drivers Under 21

In addition to other penalties that may apply, a driver under 21 who is convicted of DUI for the first time in Massachusetts faces a 210-day driver's license suspension. The offender will also be assigned to a Massachusetts program specifically designed to educate and treat those who drive under the influence. If, however, the underage offender was 17 to 21 and he or she drove with a BAC of .20 or greater, the offender will be assigned to a Massachusetts driver alcohol treatment program known as the "14 day second offender in-home program." This requirement is in addition to any penalties that may be imposed under the DUI penalties applied to adults.

Action for Negligence in Sale or Serving Alcoholic Beverages to a Minor or to an Intoxicated Person in Massachusetts

Massachusetts law permits actions to be brought against drinking establishments for injuries caused by the negligent sale or service of alcohol to a minor or to an intoxicated person. Although Massachusetts has a statute that prohibits the sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person, a violation of the statute may only be evidence of negligence. Under Massachusetts law, a person who brings an action for negligent sale or service of alcohol to a minor or to an intoxicated person must file an affidavit setting forth sufficient facts to raise a liability question, together with a complaint, within 90 days.

Criminal Penalties in Massachusetts for Furnishing Liquor to a Minor

Anyone in Massachusetts who sells or delivers alcohol to a person under 21 with knowledge that the person is underage faces imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

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  • Facts
  • Heavy drinkers are ten times more likely to get cancer than those who drink moderately or not at all.
  • Studies in healthy subjects and insulin-dependent diabetics have shown that acute alcohol consumption can impair the hormonal response to hypoglycemia.
  • Alcoholism is neglected in the education of U.S. physicians, and other health professionals; the irony of this fact is that these clinicians are in a position that affords them a number of great opportunities to affect their patient's alcohol habits and to refer them to treatment if necessary.
  • Very heavy drinkers will often have esophageal varices (dilated veins in the esophagus), signs of liver disease, brain damage, which symptoms could include a loss of cognitive function and confusion.