Prevalence of "Heavy" Alcohol Use in the US

"The estimate of 17.3 million people aged 12 or older in 2015 who were heavy alcohol users in the past month (Figure 21) represents 6.5 percent of the population aged 12 or older (Figure 23). In 2015, 221,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 were current heavy alcohol users. Stated another way, about 1 out of 100 adolescents (0.9 percent) engaged in binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days. About 1 out of every 10 young adults aged 18 to 25 (10.9 percent) were heavy alcohol users in the past month, which corresponds to 3.8 million young adults. An estimated 6.4 percent of adults aged 26 or older in 2015 were current heavy alcohol users. This percentage corresponds to about 13.3 million adults aged 26 or older who were heavy alcohol users in the past month."

(Note: According to SAMHSA: "Consistent with federal definitions27 and other federal data collections, the NSDUH definition for binge alcohol use varies for males and females. Binge drinking for males is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days, which is the same as the definition of binge alcohol use that was applied to males in prior years. For females, binge alcohol use is defined in 2015 as drinking four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. The threshold of four or more drinks for females differs from the threshold of five or more drinks that was used in prior years. Heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days based on the thresholds that were described previously for males and females. Any alcohol use, binge drinking, and heavy drinking are not mutually exclusive categories of use; heavy use is included in estimates of binge and current use, and binge use is included in estimates of current use (Figure 21)." (p. 18)

Source: 

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51), p. 19. Revised edition released January 2017. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/
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