Data on Excessive Drinking

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  • Excessive alcohol use, either in the form of binge drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women) or heavy drinking (drinking 15 or more drinks per week for men or 8 or more drinks per week for women), is associated with an increased risk of many health problems, such as liver disease and unintentional injuries.
  • According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, in 2018, more than half of the US adult population drank alcohol in the past 30 days. About 16% of the adult population reported binge drinking, and 7% reported heavy drinking.
  • According to the ARDI application, during 2006–2010, excessive alcohol use was responsible for an annual average of  88,000 deaths, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20 to 64 years, and 2.5 million years of potential life lost.  More than half of these deaths and three-quarters of the years of potential life lost were due to binge drinking.
  • Alcohol use poses additional problems for underage drinkers and pregnant women.

Note: Age-adjusted to the 2000 US Census standard population. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks for a woman or 5 or more drinks for a man on an occasion during the past 30 days.
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Note: Age-adjusted to the 2000 US Census standard population. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks for a woman or 5 or more drinks for a man on an occasion during the past 30 days. Intensity is defined as the average largest number of drinks consumed by binge drinkers on any occasion in the past 30 days.

Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Economic Costs

  • Excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $249 billion in 2010. This cost amounts to about $2.05 per drink, or about $807 per person.
  • Costs due to excessive drinking largely resulted from losses in workplace productivity (72% of the total cost), health care expenses (11%), and other costs due to a combination of criminal justice expenses, motor vehicle crash costs, and property damage.
  • Excessive alcohol use cost states and DC a median of $3.5 billion in 2010, ranging from $488 million in North Dakota to $35 billion in California.
  • Binge drinking, defined as consuming 4 or more drinks per occasion for women or 5 or more drinks per occasion for men, was responsible for about three-quarters (77%) of the cost of excessive alcohol use in all states and DC.
  • About $2 of every $5 of the economic costs of excessive alcohol use were paid by federal, state, and local governments.
Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption by State
Location Total Cost ($) Cost per drink ($) Cost per capita ($)
Alabama 3,724,300,000 2.27 779
Alaska 827,200,000 2.25 1,165
Arizona 5,946,400,000 2.27 930
Arkansas 2,073,300,000 2.27 711
California 35,010,600,000 2.44 940
Colorado 5,056,500,000 2.14 1,005
Connecticut 3,029,000,000 2.04 847
Delaware 803,800,000 1.64 895
District of Columbia 918,400,000 2.14 1,526
Florida 15,322,200,000 1.82 815
Georgia 6,930,900,000 2.12 715
Hawaii 937,400,000 1.58 689
Idaho 1,137,900,000 1.62 726
Illinois 9,715,700,000 1.86 757
Indiana 4,468,200,000 1.96 689
Iowa 1,933,600,000 1.59 635
Kansas 2,075,800,000 2.18 728
Kentucky 3,194,500,000 2.36 736
Louisiana 3,801,400,000 1.91 839
Maine 938,700,000 1.58 707
Maryland 4,964,700,000 2.22 860
Massachusetts 5,634,600,000 1.93 861
Michigan 8,161,700,000 2.10 826
Minnesota 3,886,400,000 1.74 733
Mississippi 2,277,400,000 2.05 768
Missouri 4,603,600,000 1.83 769
Montana 870,800,000 1.73 880
Nebraska 1,166,500,000 1.61 639
Nevada 2,296,300,000 1.49 850
New Hampshire 959,900,000 0.92 729
New Jersey 6,175,200,000 1.70 702
New Mexico 2,232,900,000 2.77 1,084
New York 16,330,200,000 2.28 843
North Carolina 7,034,200,000 2.11 738
North Dakota 487,600,000 1.40 725
Ohio 8,519,800,000 2.10 739
Oklahoma 3,081,200,000 2.49 821
Oregon 3,520,200,000 2.08 919
Pennsylvania 9,544,200,000 1.92 751
Rhode Island 886,500,000 1.82 842
South Carolina 3,982,900,000 2.13 861
South Dakota 598,200,000 1.59 735
Tennessee 4,683,800,000 2.25 738
Texas 18,820,600,000 1.99 748
Utah 1,636,100,000 2.74 592
Vermont 513,000,000 1.66 820
Virginia 6,126,000,000 2.06 766
Washington 5,805,100,000 2.23 863
West Virginia 1,334,900,000 2.20 720
Wisconsin 4,452,900,000 1.62 783
Wyoming 593,100,000 2.33 1,052

Source: Sacks JJ, Gonzales KR, Bouchery EE, Tomedi LE, Brewer RD. 2010 national and state costs of excessive alcohol consumptionexternal icon. Am J Prev Med. 2015;49(5):e73–e79.