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More U.S. adults are drinking, and more heavily

Women and minorities are among the groups that saw the largest increase in a survey of alcohol use

By
1:30pm, August 9, 2017

BOTTOMS UP  Nearly 30 million American adults are high-risk drinkers, downing four (for women) or five (for men) drinks on one occasion at least once a week.

The United States has a serious drinking problem. Since 2001, heavy drinking and alcohol use disorder have risen dramatically, according to a new study that surveyed tens of thousands of adults. The numbers reveal “a public health crisis,” the authors say.

The increases were especially large among those 65 years and older, minorities and women, researchers report online August 9 in JAMA Psychiatry. Alcohol is a risk factor for many potentially life-threatening injuries and health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and liver cirrhosis.

In 2012‒2013, an estimated 29.6 million American adults reported high-risk drinking, up from 20.2 million in 2001‒2002. This heavy drinking is defined as consuming more than the daily guidelines — five or more drinks per occasion for men, four or more for women — at least once a week. The number of

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