Decorative banner with drawings of alcoholic drinks and 20th anniversary graphic

CDC Alcohol Program: Celebrating 20 Years!

The Alcohol Program was established in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in 2001. Since then, CDC has advanced the prevention of excessive alcohol use, a risk factor for disease, injury, and preventable death.

Looking Back

The field of public health has made great strides in recognizing excessive alcohol use, particularly binge drinking, as a public health problem in the United States. This timeline reflects some of the milestones, and the CDC Alcohol Program’s contributions.

Graphic: Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Application: There are 261 deaths each day in the U.S. due to excessive alcohol use.

Graphic: Community Preventive Services Taskforce

Graphic: What Excessive Drinking Costs Us - $249 billion in 2010

Graphic: Dietary Guidelines for Americans on Alcohol: Not drinking, 1 drink per day or fewer for women, 2 drinks or fewer per day for men

Graphic: Prevention Status Reports: Advancing evidence-based policy and practice

Graphic: Guide for Measuring Alcohol Outlet Density

MMWR Graphic: Current Marijuana Use and Alcohol Consumption Among Adults Following the Legalization of Nonmedical Retail Marijuana Sales — Colorado, 2015–2019

What’s New

In 2021, the Alcohol Program:

  • Established its first-ever national training and technical assistance center to support states and communities in the implementation of evidence-based strategies to prevent excessive alcohol use and its impacts. This cooperative agreement also expanded support for state alcohol epidemiology capacity from five to nine states.
  • Published new estimates of the prevalence, frequency, and intensity of binge drinking in the US and states in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This report found that in 2018, one in six U.S. adults reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
  • Published a studyexternal icon in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that found that 1 in 4 people who binge drink report other substance use, and that binge drinking is strongly associated with prescription drug misuse while drinking alcohol.
  • Published Measuring Alcohol Outlet Density: A Toolkit for State and Local Surveillancepdf icon to provide step-by-step technical guidance to states and communities on the measurement of alcohol outlet density, a key risk factor for alcohol-related harms.

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Looking Forward

Looking ahead, the Alcohol Program seeks to use innovative approaches to support the prevention of excessive drinking in states and communities, while continuing to:

  • Conduct public health surveillance on excessive alcohol use and related health outcomes.
  • Communicate about effective prevention strategies and provide resources to support public health practice.
  • Expand state and local public health capacity in alcohol epidemiology.
  • Provide national leadership on effective population-level strategies to prevent excessive alcohol use and related harms.