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 2010, the estimated economic cost of excessive drinking in the U. S. was $249 billion (Sacks et al., 2015).
Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21 (CDC 2015 ).
- Binge drinking, the most common form of drinking, is defined as consuming five or more drinks during a single occasion for men or four or more drinks during a single occasion for women.
- Heavy drinking is defined as consuming fifteen or more drinks per week for men or eight or more drinks per week for women.
Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent (Esser et al., 2014).
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.
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.
|Intervention||Task Force Finding|
|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
Esser MB, Hedden SL, Kanny D, Brewer RD, Gfroerer JC, Naimi TS. Prevalence of alcohol dependence among US adult drinkers, 2009–2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:140329.
Sacks JJ, Gonzales KR, Bouchery EE, Tomedi LE, Brewer RD. 2010 national and state costs of excessive alcohol consumption. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2015;49(5):e73–9.
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.