Definitions of "Heavy" and "Binge" Alcohol Use According to SAMHSA:
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.
Prevalence of Binge Alcohol Use in the US, 2012:
" Nearly one quarter (23.0 percent) of persons aged 12 or older in 2012 were binge alcohol users in the 30 days prior to the survey. This translates to about 59.7 million people. The rate in 2012 was similar to the rate in 2011 (22.6 percent)."
Prevalence of Current Alcohol Use in the US: "In 2015, 138.3 million Americans aged 12 or older reported current use of alcohol, 66.7 million reported binge alcohol use in the past month, and 17.3 million reported heavy alcohol use in the past month (Figure 21). Thus, nearly half of current alcohol users reported binge alcohol use (48.2 percent), and about 1 in 8 current alcohol users reported heavy alcohol use (12.5 percent). Among binge alcohol users, about 1 in 4 (26.0 percent) were heavy users.Current Alcohol Use The estimate of 138.3 million current alcohol users aged 12 or older in 2015 (Figure 21) corresponds to alcohol use in the past month by slightly more than half (51.7 percent) of people aged 12 or older (Figure 22). The 2015 estimate of past month alcohol use was similar to the estimate in 2005 to 2013, but it was lower than the 2014 estimate."
" Among current drinkers, 39.6% reported binge drinking in the past month, with the Marine Corps reporting the highest prevalence of binge drinking (56.7%), and the Air Force reporting the lowest prevalence (28.1%).
" When examining levels of drinking across all services, 9.9% were classified abstainers, 5.7% were former drinkers, and 84.5% were current drinkers; 58.6% of all personnel were classified as infrequent/light drinkers, 17.5% were moderate drinkers, and 8.4% were classified as heavy drinkers.