New CDC Study: Most Excessive Drinkers Are Not Alcoholics

December 3, 2014

Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that only 1 out of 10 Americans who drink excessively are dependent on alcohol.

The CDC defines excessive consumption as 8 standard drinks a week for women, and 15 for men. Drinking at these levels causes 88,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, and significantly increases the risk of liver cirrhosis, several types of cancer, traffic crashes, injuries, and suicide. Excessive consumption results in $223.5 billion a year in economic damage in the U.S.

Robert Brewer, Alcohol Program Lead in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, points out that the study results indicate problem drinking is an issue for a much larger population than previously thought, and that evidence-based prevention strategies such as increasing alcohol prices and reducing alcohol outlet density can help to ameliorate the problem.