Americans binge 17 billion drinks a year, CDC says


When the numbers were tallied, the researchers discovered the extent of America's binge drinking problem in 2015, as USA adults consumed about 17.5 billion binge drinks that year. The national average is 467 drinks a year per each binge drinker.

Thomas G. Brown, the director and principal investigator at McGill University's Addiction Research Program, refers to binge drinking as "the hidden face of the alcohol problem", explaining that the practice is underestimated in its severity. Over half of the total number of binge drinks were consumed by adults over 35.

Those are startling - and disturbing - findings. Annually, binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the 88,000 alcohol-attributable deaths and three-quarters of the $249 billion in economic costs associated with excessive drinking in the United States. Over time, binge drinking also increases the risk of serious health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and liver failure. A study published previous year found that high-risk drinking in the US increased by about 30 percent between 2001 and 2013. But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a "first-of-its-kind" study about binge drinking this week, and the results may surprise you.

Rebekah Brubaker, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham Community Service Board Director of Adult Behavioral Health Services, said it is not unusual for people to continue binge drinking even after their college days.

Participants were asked several questions in the survey, such as how often they drank, how many drinks they consumed on average, and the most number of drinks they consumed in one sitting.

The areas with fewer binge drinks were the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York and Washington.

The CDC defines binge drinking as 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men, all over the course of two hours, which surprised people in Rochester. Men accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total binge-drinking episodes in 2015 and consumed 80 percent of the 17.5 billion total binge drinks.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that if alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation - up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men - and only by adults of legal drinking age.

Those with household incomes under $25,000 and lower educational levels drank more than more affluent and better-educated adults, the study, which was published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found. It is more common among young adults between the ages of 18 and 34.

Binge drinkers consumed the most alcohol in Arkansas (an average of 841 drinks per binge drinker per year) and the least in Washington, D.C. (317). What exactly binge drinking can do to the body? In Wisconsin, Brewer said residents had around 470 million binge drinks.