Prevalence of "Heavy" Alcohol Use in the US
"Among people aged 12 or older, the percentage who were past month heavy alcohol users declined from 6.5 percent (or 17.3 million people) in 2015 to 5.8 percent (or 16.0 million people) in 2019 (Figure 9 and 2019 DT 7.3). However, these estimates in 2019 were similar to those in 2016 to 2018.
"Aged 12 to 17
"Among adolescents aged 12 to 17, past month heavy alcohol use increased from 0.5 percent (or 131,000 adolescents) in 2018 to 0.8 percent (or 208,000 adolescents) in 2019 (Figure 9 and 2019 DT 7.6). However, these estimates in 2019 were similar to those in 2015 to 2017. Thus, continued monitoring of trends in heavy alcohol use among adolescents is important to help reduce harmful consequences related to underage drinking problems in the United States.
"Aged 18 to 25
"Among young adults aged 18 to 25, the percentage who were past month heavy alcohol users declined from 10.9 percent (or 3.8 million people) in 2015 to 8.4 percent (or 2.8 million people) in 2019 (Figure 9 and 2019 DT 7.12). These estimates in 2019 were lower than those in 2015 to 2017, but they were similar to those in 2018.
"Aged 26 or Older
"Among adults aged 26 or older, the percentage who were past month heavy alcohol users remained stable between 2015 and 2019 (Figure 9 and 2019 DT 7.15). In 2019, 6.0 percent of adults aged 26 or older (or 13.0 million people) were heavy alcohol users in the past month."
Note: According to SAMHSA:
"In addition to asking about any alcohol use, NSDUH collected information on past month binge alcohol use and heavy alcohol use. Binge drinking for males was defined as drinking five or more drinks18 on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days, which has remained unchanged from the threshold prior to 2015. Since 2015, binge alcohol use for females has been defined as drinking four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.19 This definition of binge alcohol use is consistent with federal definitions.20 Heavy alcohol use was defined as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past 30 days based on the thresholds described previously for males and females.
"Among the 139.7 million current alcohol users aged 12 or older in 2019, 65.8 million people (47.1 percent) were past month binge drinkers (Figure 6). Among past month binge drinkers, 16.0 million people (24.4 percent of current binge drinkers and 11.5 percent of current alcohol users) were past month heavy drinkers.21"
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP20-07-01-001, NSDUH Series H-55). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.