Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States and is a risk factor for many health and societal problems. In 2006, the estimated economic cost of excessive drinking in the U. S. was $223.5 billion (Bouchery et al., 2011).
Excessive alcohol consumption can take the form of heavy drinking, binge drinking, or any drinking by pregnant women or underage youth.
- Heavy drinking is defined as more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women.
- Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks during a single occasion for men or four or more drinks during a single occasion for women.
- Approximately 1 in 6 US adults binge drinks, about 4 times a month. On average, the largest number of drinks consumed during a binge is 8.
- Underage drinking is considered a form of excessive drinking because it is both illegal and often involves consumption in quantities and settings that can lead to serious immediate and long-term consequences.
- People aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks (OJJDP) [PDF - 1.08 MB] .
Task Force Recommendations and Findings
This table lists interventions reviewed by the Community Guide, with a summary of the Task Force finding (definitions of findings). Click on an underlined intervention title for a summary of the review.
|Interventions Directed to the General Population|
|Dram Shop Liability||Recommended
|Electronic Screening and Brief Intervention (e-SBI)||Recommended
|Increasing Alcohol Taxes||Recommended
|Maintaining Limits on Days of Sale||Recommended
|Maintaining Limits on Hours of Sale||Recommended
|Overservice Law Enforcement Initiatives||Insufficient Evidence
|Privatization of Retail Alcohol Sales|| Recommended Against
|Regulation of Alcohol Outlet Density||Recommended
|Responsible Beverage Service Training||Insufficient Evidence
|Interventions Directed to Underage Drinkers|
|Enhanced Enforcement of Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors||Recommended
Bouchery EE, Harwood HJ, Sacks JJ, Simon CJ, Brewer RD. Economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in the U.S., 2006. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2011;41(5):516-24.
The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.
The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Preventing excessive alcohol consumption. www.thecommunityguide.org/alcohol/index.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.