Alcohol-Related Public Health Objectives and Guidelines

Healthy People 2020

Healthy People 2020  highlights the major health priorities for our nation and serves as a guide to increase the quality and years of healthy living and to eliminate health disparities. One specific goal is to reduce substance abuse to protect the health, safety, and quality of life for all, especially children. This goal includes several objectives such as reducing alcohol-related motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries, reducing cirrhosis deaths, reducing binge drinking, and increasing treatment for substance abuse.

Chronic Disease Indicators

The Chronic Disease Indicators (CDIs) are a comprehensive set of 124 national and state public health measures that were developed to improve the quality and availability of surveillance data on chronic diseases and health risk behaviors, and support the development of effective prevention strategies. There are 16 alcohol indicators in the CDIs, including measures related to adult and youth alcohol consumption, and evidence-based policies and practices for the prevention of excessive drinking.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The 2015—2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that if alcohol is consumed, it should be 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. The Guidelines also do not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason. There are some people who should not drink any alcohol at all.

National Prevention Strategy

Unveiled on June 16, 2011, the National Prevention Strategy (NPS) aims to guide the United States in the most effective and achievable means for improving health and well-being. Called for by the Affordable Care Act, the NPS prioritizes prevention by integrating recommendations and actions across multiple settings to improve health for all people where they live, work, play, and learn. The NPS identifies the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Excessive Alcohol Use  as one of seven prevention priorities.

Specific recommendations for the prevention of excessive alcohol use include:

  • Support state, tribal, local, and territorial implementation and enforcement of alcohol control policies.
  • Create environments that empower young people not to drink or use other drugs.
  • Identify alcohol and other drug abuse disorders early and provide brief intervention, referral and treatment.

The NPS also goes on further to recommend the implementation of evidence-based population-level interventions, particularly those that are recommended by the Guide to Community Preventive ServicesExternal for preventing excessive alcohol use and related harms.