In 2015, 57% of Americans over 21 drank alcohol in the past month. Approximately 71% of persons from this category drank in the past year. Alarmingly, 36% of Americans aged 12 to 20 years old drank alcohol in the past year, although the law prohibits alcohol for this age group.
Alcohol binge means having five or more drinks on the same occasion by one person. A third of Americans over 21 binged on alcohol in the last month.
Heavy alcohol use is having five or more drinks on the same occasion on five or more days in the last month. Approximately 7% of Americans over 21 are considered to be heavy alcohol users.
Regular alcohol use, alcohol binging, and heavy alcohol use are not mutually exclusive. All heavy drinkers are also regular alcohol users.
In 2015, amongst Americans over 21, men drink more. 22% of women and 33% have binged on alcohol in the previous year. Also, 10% of men and 4% of women in the US are heavy alcohol users.
White people are the most active drinkers: 62% drank alcohol in the past month. Black/African Americans are at 50%, and Hispanic/Latino are at 49%.
Less active alcohol drinkers are American Indians/ Alaska natives (42%) and Hawaiians/ Pacific Islanders (38%).
The most important aspect of alcohol drinking is the capacity and ability to control it. The data provided by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that more than one-tenth of the American population can’t control their level of alcohol drinking, and are heavy alcohol users. Losing control of alcohol use leads to social, financial and health problems.