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Glossary - Alcohol

Binge drinking

  • CDC definition:
      • For females:  Having 4 or more drinks on an occasion in the past 30 days. (Note: A drinking occasion is considered to be approximately two hours.)
      • For males: Having 5 or more drinks on an occasion in the past 30 days. (Note: A drinking occasion is considered to be approximately two hours.)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism definition:
      • For females: Having 4 or more drinks in a two hour period in the past 30 days.
      • For males: Having 5 or more drinks in a two hour period in the past 30 days.

Drinking status

  • Lifetime abstainer – Fewer than 12 drinks in lifetime.
  • Former infrequent drinker – Fewer than 12 drinks in any one year and no drinks in past year.
  • Former regular drinker – At least 12 drinks in any one year in lifetime but no drinks in past year.
  • Current infrequent drinker – 1-11 drinks in past year.
  • Current light drinker – At least 12 drinks in the past year but 3 drinks or fewer per week, on average over the past year.
  • Current moderate drinker – More than 3 drinks but no more than 7 drinks per week for women and more than 3 drinks but no more than 14 drinks per week for men, on average over the past year.
  • Current heavier drinker – More than 7 drinks per week for women; more than 14 drinks per week for men, on average over the past year.

Heavy drinking day (also referred to as episodic heavy drinking)

  • For females: Having 4 or more drinks in a single day in the past year.
  • For males: Having 5 or more drinks in a single day in the past year.

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