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.