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Facts & Risk Factors

Drinking alcohol can be safe when it is consumed responsibly. Knowing the facts and risks associated with alcohol use can help you avoid over-consumption and reduce alcohol misuse. Alcohol misuse can lead to alcohol poisoning, car accidents, and more.

Anyone who consumes alcohol—even occasionally—should know the facts and risks.

Not sure if drinking is a problem? Low-risk drinking is defined as no more than four drinks daily and 14 drinks per week for men, and no more than three drinks daily and seven drinks per week for women according to the NIAAA. Anyone drinking above this amount could be at risk of alcohol misuse.

The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming four standard drinks in a two-hour span for females and five standard drinks for males. One in six adults in the United States binge drinks approximately four times a month, consuming about seven drinks per binge. Most common among people 18–34 years, binge drinking affects men twice as much as women.

Binge drinking

Binge drinking affects 40 million Americans (about one in six adults) and 16.8% of Arizonans. It is the most common, costly, and deadly type of alcohol misuse in the United States. Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, car accidents, violence, sexually transmitted disease, unintended pregnancy, and more.

Underage drinking

Alcohol is the substance young people most commonly misuse in the United States according to the CDC. Although illegal for people under the age of 21, 11% of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. is by people aged 12 to 20. The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 30% of high school students drank alcohol in a 30-day period, and 14% binge drank.

Mixing alcohol and caffeine

Mixing alcohol with energy drinks is popular with young people in the United States. Caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise. Those age 15 to 23 who mix alcohol with energy drinks are four times more likely to binge drink at high intensity (consuming six or more drinks) than those who drink alcohol only.

Chronic alcohol use and withdrawal

When a person suddenly stops drinking after chronic and heavy alcohol use, it can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. The most dangerous type, delirium tremens, affects about 1 in 20 people and could be deadly without immediate medical management.


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