Statistics concerning Alcohol Consumption

Below are some statistics about general trends of alcohol consumption in the United States as reported by NIAAA’s Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry

How frequently did American adults (ages 18 and over) drink in the past year?

(Source: Wave 2 NESARC, conducted by NIAAA’s Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry)


Percentage who drank:                                            Women           Men

  • Daily                                                                  2.45%             5.78%
  • Nearly every day                                             2.39%             4.98%
  • 3-4 times a week                                             5.55%             10.00%
  • 2 times a week                                                 5.82%             10.46%
  • Once a week                                                     6.77%             10.33%
  • 2-3 times a month                                          8.27%             9.55%
  • Once a month                                                  7.19%             6.72%
  • 7-11 times in the past year                            4.44%             3.51%
  • 3-6 times in the past year                             9.26%             5.67%
  • 1-2 times in the past year                              8.73%             4.91%
  • Never in the past year                                    39.13%          28.09%


How many American adults (ages 18 and over) drank in the past year and how much did they drink?

(Source: Wave 1 NESARC, conducted by NIAAA’s Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry)


  • Percentage who had at least one drink
    59.6% (women)             71.8% (men)
  • Percentage who have never drank –lifetime abstainers
    22.5%  (women)           11.6% (men)
  • Percentage of binge drinkers – drinkers who consumed 4+/5+ (women/men) drinks within 2 hours at least once
    28.8% (women)             43.1% (men)


How many drinks did drinkers usually consume on a drinking day?

  •             1 drink – 48.2% (women)         28.7% (men)
  •             2 drinks – 29.9% (women)          29.0% (men)
  •             3 drinks – 21.9% (women)        42.3% (men)

Top 10 most abused drugs

Recent statistics show that there has been a slight shift in the top 10 most commonly abused drugs. The most noteworthy is marijuana, moving from 3rd place to 2nd place recently. Most speculate this is due on part to the legalization of recreational marijuana in many parts of the country.

1-Alcohol: The CDAC notes that, “with over half (51.8%) of U.S. population identified as drinkers, alcohol is the #1 most abused substance. Nearly a quarter of the population participates in binge drinking (58.6 million), and 6.7% of the population reported heavy drinking (16.9 million). As a depressant, alcohol produces impaired coordination and judgment, slurred speech, and blackouts.”

2- Marijuana: Marijuana is the #1 most abused illicit drug and the third most abused drug according to the CDAC. The CDAC reports that, “the dried parts of the Cannabis plant can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination and problems with learning and memory.”

3- Tobacco: At least one quarter of Americans (6.9 million) are users of a tobacco product making it the second most abused drug. Many individuals are drawn to smoking because it stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain and turn on the body’s natural chemicals that produce euphoria. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, causing long-term systemic effects. These risks include high blood pressure and smoking has been proven to increase the risk of cancer.

4-Prescription painkillers: The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise and has moved up in ranking to be the fourth most abused type of drug. Painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, are the most abused prescription drugs. These drugs can produce effects similar to heroin. Painkillers can have negative effects on the physical body causing heightened sensitivity to sound and light, hallucinations, blackouts and problems with the lungs, central nervous system, stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, heart and death from overdose.

5-Cocaine: Although cocaine gained popularity back in the 1980’s, it still remains on the top 10 list of most abused drugs: listed as the fifth most abused. According to the CDAC, nearly 1.5 million people in America are current users of this white powder. Cocaine use results in severe psychological dependence and intense drug cravings. This is due to cocaine’s short-lived yet powerful effects of euphoria. With cocaine, tolerance builds quickly, making it more dangerous.

6- Prescription Sedatives: The most common sedatives are benzodiazepines and tranquilizers. Approximately 2.4 million people in the U.S. are using sedatives for non-medical purposes. These are highly addictive and can cause memory loss, poor motor coordination, paranoia, stupor, suicidal thoughts, aggression, respiratory depression and coma. Mixing sedatives with alcohol is very dangerous and can cause death.

7- Prescription Stimulants: Prescription stimulant drugs have a high addictive rate and about 1.2 million Americans are currently taking prescription stimulants for non-medical purposes. These stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall, are usually prescribed for people who have narcolepsy or ADHD. These drugs increase the level of dopamine in the brain causing feelings of euphoria. Abuse of stimulants can cause heart attacks, strokes, depression, malnutrition, hostility and paranoia. Because stimulants increase energy and focus, teenagers are abusing the drug because they believe it will enhance their learning and test scores. The abuse of these drugs has increased significantly on college campuses across the country.

8- Hallucinogens (LSD, ecstasy): Approximately 1.1 million people are currently taking hallucinogens in the U.S. Hallucinogenic drugs are known as PCP, mescaline, Ecstasy, LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. These drugs cause hallucinations and profoundly affect the perception of reality. Some negative effects of using hallucinogenic drugs are delusions, paranoia, panic, terror, despair, psychosis, and psychological illness. Flashbacks from some of these drugs may occur at anytime after using the drug. LSD is reported to be the most popular hallucinogen among users. LSD, also known as “acid,” is the most potent hallucinogen in the world. It is often sold on blotting paper, or “window panes.” The effects of LSD are unpredictable, altering the user’s mood, personality, and sensations of reality. (CDAC, 2012).

9- Heroin: Heroin is known as the most powerful and addictive drug in the world and its use is increasing in the U.S. Heroin induces euphoria by binding to the opioid receptors that control consciousness, breathing and blood pressure. Long-term effects of using heroin include collapsed veins, partial paralysis, memory loss, intellectual impairment, and disease of the heart, liver and kidneys. Heroin is often diluted with other substances creating a high risk of physical complications and death. It is made from poppy plants and is a highly addictive opiate. It can be injected, smoked, or sniffed and creates a feeling of a euphoric rush. Users feel an increased ability to communicate easily with others, and report heightened sexual performance.

10-Methamphetamine: The tenth most abused drug is methamphetamine, also known as meth, crank, or speed. Although last on the list, it shouldn’t be ignored. Meth is popular among young adults. Meth produces feelings of well-being and energy which can last from 4 to 16 hours. Because of its lasting effects, it is a popular drug for both parties and nightclubs. Meth is highly addictive, and burns up the body’s resources and can cause permanent damage to the brain and body.


Binge DrinkerAre You a Binge Drinker?

Recent research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham estimates that 1,825 college students ages 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries like car accidents, about 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking. So binge drinking is a college kid problem right? Everybody grows out of it right? Research says, “not so.” Although most people associate binge drinking with college age individuals, it isn’t exclusive to young adults.   In fact, a recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report suggests that over 38 million adults binge drink an average of four times a month. The report also indicated that those who make more than $75,000 and those over 65 years of age are more apt to binge drink (not your typical college kid). If you’re wondering if you or someone you love is caught in a dangerous cycle of binge drinking, look for the following 6 signs:

  1. Overall, the individual takes more risks than they use to
  2. Larger quantities of alcohol are consumed more often than before
  3. They can’t to stop drinking at a “predecided limit”
  4. They black out after drinking
  5. They’ve becoming more negligent or lazy recently
  6. Their close friends and/or family are concerned

Kids and Alcohol ads

A recent study published by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs examined the exposure of kids to alcohol ads. They looked at the different types of advertising, the ads that were most often viewed and, the characteristics of the kids who were exposed most often to alcohol related ads.

The results were interesting. It was discovered that most of the ads viewed by the kids were outdoor advertisements, with television advertisements a close second. Further, the researchers found that African American and Hispanic youth were exposed to an average of 4.1 and 3.4 advertisements per day, respectively, nearly two times as many as non-Hispanic White youth, who were exposed to 2.0 advertisements per day. Another interesting finding was that girls were exposed to 30% more alcohol related ads than boys.

Previous research shows that exposure to alcohol ads is very common among middle school–age kids and could place these kids at risk for earlier or more frequent underage drinking. Thus, this study concluded that more restrictions on alcohol advertising – both outdoors and on television – should be considered and should center primarily on reducing exposure among minority kids.

Source: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77(3), 384–392 (2016).








drinkingandgraduationGraduation and Underage Drinking

With prom and graduation season upon us, many law enforcement groups are collaborating to advise teens and their parents on a very simple and straightforward message: “Underage drinking is illegal and it will not be tolerated.”

Many store owners display signs warning teens or their parents of the consequences of getting caught drinking while underage. Law enforcement hopes this deters individuals from doing so. While many think teenagers are solely to blame for underage drinking around graduation time, there is much evidence that indicates that parents are equally to blame in many cases. In fact, many parents see high school graduation as a “rite of passage” where alcohol should be “allowed” to be consumed by underage graduates. Law enforcement wants to emphasize that no occasion is exempt from breaking the laws associated with underage drinking.

If you are concerned that your child may engage in underage drinking around graduation, research shows that involvement is the best way to prevent this. Knowing who your teens are with, where they are, and what they are doing encourages teens to understand that others are aware of their actions – and their underage drinking. Hosting a party at your home can also allow you to keep an eye on things and watch out for underage drinking during graduation.



alcoholandPromAlcohol and Prom Night

As prom season begins, many parents start to worry about the safety of their children on this special, coming-of-age evening. Most kids attend the prom but end up leaving the dance at some point to head to another gathering with their date. The prom doesn’t end with the dance at the school, as it did years ago. And many of the after prom parties involve alcohol.

If you ask teens, over 90% of them will tell you that their friends will drink and drive on prom night. Research shows that of this 90%, over 50% of these teens will have had four or more drinks on prom night. In fact, drinking and driving on prom night has been shown to contribute to the over 5,000 teens each year that die from underage drinking.

Alternatively, there are other options besides drinking alcohol on prom night. In fact, there are lots of schools that sponsor their own “after party” – hoping to lure teens away form parties where there is alcohol. Some schools have a booth set up the week of prom where students can pledge to stay sober and stay away from alcohol for the duration of prom week.

Most importantly, parents play a huge role in helping their kids stay away from alcohol on prom night. Knowing where your teen is headed, who they are with, expecting them to check in and be home at certain times, and being involved with the dance in any way can lessen the likelihood of the combination of alcohol and prom night.


April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Beginning in 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has sponsored programs related to alcohol awareness in the month of April. The purpose of the focus in April is to raise awareness about alcoholism and reduce the shame surrounding the disease.

The theme for 2016 is “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use.” The NCADD emphasizes that having conversations with kids about alcohol use can be complicated, but doing so is always beneficial. Further, statistics show that people between the ages of 12 and 20 drink over ten percent of all the alcohol consumed in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). But, when parents talk to their children about drinking alcohol, kids are more likely to understand the dangers of alcohol experimentation and participate less or not at all in risky drinking behaviors such as binge drinking.

Strengthening your relationships with your kids so that they feel like they can be open and honest about their questions and concerns is key to following through with this year’s theme. Talking to kids while they are young and as often as you feel you can is apt to make a huge difference in teen alcohol use. Setting boundaries and establishing rules early while kids are young can lead to more confidence in resisting risky behaviors relating to alcohol as kids grow up.

Source: NCADD.com

LowerBloodAlcoholandDrivingLower Legal Limit on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

This month the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that states across the country drop the legal BAC (blood alcohol content) levels from 0.08 to 0.05 — “or even lower” — in an effort to discourage more people from driving while intoxicated in 2016. CNN.com reported that the NTSB tweeted “Safety is a journey, not a destination. Reducing BAC limit to .05 is one of many steps to end substance impairment in transportation.”

Although the NTSB hopes that by lowering the legal BAC limit, the number of fatal car accidents due to drunk driving will decrease, many individuals don’t think moving to 0.05 will do much good. The rational for the difference in the BAC was explained by NTSB Vice Chairwoman Bella Dinh-Zarr. She thinks going to a 0.05 BAC limit would save lives, citing studies from other countries where it’s been implemented and believes lowering the bar for what counts as legally drunk is one of the many things can be done to combat drunken driving.

Of course, there is support for and against the proposal to lower the legal limit on BAC. Many organizations believe that lowering the legal BAC limit will discourage people from drinking too much, or driving after drinking at all. Other groups believe sobriety checks or ignition locks are the way to approach the problem. Although the NTSB tried to lower the legal BAC level last year, they have not yet been able to implement anything.

source: CNN.com


Depade is a new prescription medication used to treat alcohol and opiate addictions. Depade works by blocking the pleasing effects that alcohol and opioid drugs produce and tackles cravings for these substances by helping take one’s mind off drinking/drugs and focus on recovery instead.

More specifically, Depade is most often used as a part of a holistic addiction treatment program that generally includes counseling meetings, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, educational sessions, medical and family support, and other types of treatment a recovering addict may need. As mentioned previously, Depade works by blocking the chemical responses that make alcohol and opioid drugs rewarding. Depade cannot get individuals high.

Many individuals are concerned about the addictiveness of Depade. However, the good news is that Depade has been shown to be a non-addictive medication with no risk of cross-addiction. But, it is important to recognize that although Depade helps alcoholics and opiad users in long-term recovery stay substance free, it is not simply a pill that will cure addiction. Depade is best used as a part of a thorough addiction treatment program that includes other practices such as psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.

Physicians counsel that not everyone should start on Depade immediately. It must be shown that patients recovering from alcohol addictions have been successful in abstaining for 307 days before taking the drug. Also, Depade is intended for the treatment of opioid dependent patients who have stopped using illicit or prescription opioid drugs for 10-14 days.

Source: addictionblog.org


Women’s Alcohol Intake on the Rise

Most of us think of men drinking alcohol more often and in larger quantities than women. In fact, previous research has shown that men consume more alcohol than women. However, recent new findings published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research by the National Institute of Health (NIH), show that women are actually increasing their alcohol intake; coming close to the amount of alcohol men.

Data, which provided information on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use in the United States, was analyzed by members of the NIH from the 2002-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The researchers specifically focused on studying the alcohol use of both men and women over the age of 12. Their drinking levels, binge drinking, drinking and driving and if they ever combined the alcohol intake with drug use were studied.

The findings of analyzing this data were significant. In fact, the levels of alcohol intake in women increased during the 10-year study period. The study showed that the number of women who reportedly consumed alcohol in the past 30 days increased from 44.9 percent in 2002 to 48.3 percent in 2012, and the number of days the women drank alcohol in the past 30 days increased from 6.8 days to 7.3 days. In contrast, the alcohol intake in men decreased from 57.4 percent in 2002 to 56.1 percent in 2012.

These results are interesting due to the fact that society might not have believed, due to previous stigmas about drinking and gender differences, that women’s alcohol intake is on the rise. Further, the findings are concerning due to the adverse health effects from alcohol on women–cardiovascular disease, for instance.

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