Health United States 2020-2021

Binge alcohol use

Measured in the following data systems. (Also see: Sources and Definitions, Alcohol consumption; Heavy alcohol use)

 

Monitoring the Future (MTF) Study

This school-based survey of secondary school students collects information on alcohol use by using self-completed questionnaires. To determine whether they have tried alcohol, students are asked a preliminary screening question: “Have you ever had any alcoholic beverage to drink—more than just a few sips?” where alcohol beverage is defined as beer, wine, liquor, and any other beverage that contains alcohol. Students who reply in the affirmative are then asked additional questions about their alcohol consumption, including one on binge drinking: “Think back over the last 2 weeks. How many times have you had five or more drinks in a row?” A drink is defined as a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a shot glass of liquor, a mixed drink, and others. Information on binge drinking is obtained for 12th graders (starting in 1975) and for 8th and 10th graders (starting in 1991).

 

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

Measures binge alcohol use by asking respondents aged 12 years and over about their alcohol use in the 30 days before the interview. Starting in 2015, binge alcohol use was defined for males as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion (that is, at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other), and for females as drinking four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past month. Heavy alcohol users also were defined as binge users of alcohol. Before the 2015 NSDUH, binge alcohol use was defined for both males and females as drinking five or more drinks on at least 1 day in the past month. For males, data for binge alcohol use since 2015 are comparable with data before 2015. For females and the total population of males and females combined, data for binge alcohol use since 2015 are not comparable with data before 2015.

Page last reviewed: August 12, 2022