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Binge Drinking

CDC Reports No Decline in Binge Drinking over Last 15 Years

The CDC says that despite considerable public education campaigns, binge drinking hasn’t declined in more than 15 years, and according to alcohol sales information, it may actually be on the rise.

Binge drinking is defined as having 5 or more drinks for men, or 4 or more drinks for women, in quick succession.

Publishing survey study results in its online magazine, Vital Signs, the CDC reports that:

  • 4 million adults binge drink on any given day in America
  • About a quarter of high school kids and young adults reported binge drinking within the last month
  • Of high school kids that drink alcohol, two thirds binge drank with the last month
  • Amongst adults who drink alcohol, almost 1 in 3 binge drank with the last month
  • The majority of people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent
  • Binge drinking is most common amongst those aged 18 to 34, amongst men and amongst people form households with incomes greater than $75 000

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H commented on the significance of the high binge drinking numbers by saying, "Binge drinking, increases many health risks, including fatal car crashes, contracting a sexually transmitted disease, dating violence, and drug overdoses. Excessive alcohol use remains the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States and leads to a wide range of health and social problems."

Dr. Robert Brewer, who leads the alcohol program at the CDC, wrote in a statement that most binge drinkers aren’t alcoholics, but noted that many of these binge drinkers fail to realize the health risks associated with their behaviors.

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