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38 Million American Adults are Binge Drinkers, CDC Says

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say 38 million American adults are binge drinkers, and most of them are ages 18 to 34. In a new report, the CDC says that while binge drinking is more common among young adults, those age 65 and older who binge drink do so more often—an average of five to six times a month.

Binge drinking is defined as men who have five or more drinks in one sitting, and women who have four or more drinks at one time, HealthDay reports.

Binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the 80,000 alcohol-related deaths each year in the United States, and accounts for about three-fourths of the more than $200 billion in costs from alcohol abuse, according to the CDC.

“Binge drinking causes a wide range of health, social and economic problems and this report confirms the problem is really widespread,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. said in a news release. “We need to work together to implement proven measures to reduce binge drinking at national, state and community levels.”

The CDC found binge drinking is more common among people with household incomes of $75,000 or more. However, binge drinkers with household incomes of less than $25,000 have the largest number of drinks per sitting—an average of eight to nine drinks.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Reid Hester, Ph.D. / January 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Eight years ago NIAAA noted that the prevalence of alcohol abuse was increasing while that of dependence was declining. In response we’ve developed and are disseminating empirically supported web apps for heavy drinkers.

  2. Lisa Frederiksen - BreakingTheCycles.com / January 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I agree with Jason. The far greater problem is binge drinking — not only for its harm to the drinker but to those within their sphere who must deal with their drinking behaviors.

  3. Jason / January 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you to the CDC for recognizing in their new report that most binge drinkers are not dependent or alcoholics. The industry tries to perpetuate the myth that the problem is with alcoholics, and when they’re successful they divert attention away from policies that are affective at addressing the majority of the problem.

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