CDC Alcohol Program

Key points

  • CDC's Alcohol Program measures the impact of excessive alcohol use and related harms in the United States.
  • The program also develops resources to help people drink less and to help communities and states create healthier environments that support individuals in drinking less.
Many hands join together in the center of a circle to demonstrate teamwork and collaboration.


Our mission‎

To prevent excessive alcohol use and its impact in states and communities through public health surveillance, partnerships, and applied research for translation into public health practice.

The Alcohol Program works to reduce excessive alcohol use and related illness, injury, and death. We do this by:

  • Measuring the effects of excessive alcohol use and its harms in the United States.
  • Providing resources to help states and communities use strategies that are proven to prevent alcohol-related harms.
  • Sharing clear information about how reducing excessive alcohol use can improve health and well-being.
  • Expanding state and local efforts to understand alcohol use and its impact among groups of people in different areas.
  • Working with partners on national initiatives to improve public health, including efforts to lower alcohol-related harms across the country.

Why it's important

Excessive alcohol use can affect the health and well-being of people and communities. It can cause harm to those who drink and to those around them.

These effects can be prevented. People can drink less to lower the risk of developing chronic health conditions, getting injured, and dying early from excessive alcohol use. Communities can also help people drink less by designing supportive environments through the use of effective alcohol policies that make it easier for people to choose to drink less.

For example, people tend to drink more when they are around places that sell, promote, or advertise alcohol. Laws can discourage excessive alcohol use by helping to set limits on the number and distance between places that sell alcohol. This may also make space for other businesses in the area, promoting opportunity without the risk of alcohol-related illness, injury, and crime in a community.

Did you know?‎

Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Examples of what we do

The CDC Alcohol Program:

  • Supports the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) application to estimate U.S. deaths from excessive alcohol use.
  • Conducts research on and shares resources and tools about effective strategies for creating healthier environments that support people in drinking less.
  • Implements a campaign to encourage individuals to drink less to improve their quality of life, relationships, and health.
  • Provides a website to support people in drinking less. These tools allow adults to check their alcohol use and plan ways to reduce their drinking.
  • Funds organizations to help states collect data on drinking patterns and alcohol-related harms.
  • Works with partners to apply strategies that prevent excessive alcohol use in communities.

Recent study findings

We study the impact of excessive alcohol use and alcohol-related harms to better understand how we can help people live safer and healthier lives. Our recent studies have shown that:

  • In the United States, there are about 178,000 deaths each year from excessive alcohol use.1
  • Among U.S. adults aged 20 to 49, an estimated 1 in 5 deaths are from excessive alcohol use.2
  • Alcohol-related emergency department visits were higher in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic than the 2 years before.3
  • Adolescents are four times more likely to drink alcohol if their parents binge drink.4
  • Using minimum pricing policies to make small increases in the lowest cost alcohol products could reduce drinking and save lives.5

Examples of what funded organizations do

CDC-funded organizations work to lower rates of excessive alcohol use and its harms across their states by:

  • Starting or expanding state alcohol programs.
  • Working with advisory groups to coordinate efforts to lower excessive alcohol use and its effects on communities.
  • Combining efforts to lower excessive alcohol use with other public health priorities. This includes cancer prevention or drug overdose prevention.
  • Studying and presenting findings on the impacts of excessive alcohol use.
  • Partnering with community coalitions to share data that can be used for public health action.

Subscribe to emails from the CDC Alcohol Program to get the latest CDC research on alcohol and health, and resources for improving well-being.

  1. Esser MB, Sherk A, Liu Y, Naimi TS. Changes in deaths from excessive alcohol use — United States, 2016-2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2024;73:154–161. doi:
  2. Esser MB, Leung G, Sherk A, et al. Estimated deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use among US adults aged 20 to 64 years, 2015 to 2019. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(11):e2239485. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.39485
  3. Esser MB, Idaikkadar N, Kite-Powell A, Thomas C, Greenlund KJ. Trends in emergency department visits related to acute alcohol consumption before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, 2018–2020. Drug Alcohol Depend Rep. 2022;3:100049. doi: 10.1016/j.dadr.2022.100049
  4. Bohm MK, Esser MB. Associations between parental drinking and alcohol use among their adolescent children: findings from a national survey of United States parent-child dyads. J Adolesc Health. 2023;73(5):961–964. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.05.028
  5. Bertin L, Leung G, Bohm MK, et al. Estimating the effects of hypothetical alcohol minimum unit pricing policies on alcohol use and deaths: a state example. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2024;85(1):120–132. doi: 10.15288/jsad.22-00274