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The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services

Together, the Community Guide and the Clinical Guide provide evidence-based recommendations across the prevention spectrum.

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Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Image of bottles of alcohol on shelves

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States and is a risk factor for many health and societal problems. In 2006, the estimated economic cost of excessive drinking in the U. S. was $223.5 billion (Bouchery et al., 2011).

Excessive alcohol consumption can take the form of heavy drinking, binge drinking, or any drinking by pregnant women or underage youth.

  • Heavy drinking is defined as more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women.
    • Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks during a single occasion for men or four or more drinks during a single occasion for women.
    • Approximately 1 in 6 US adults binge drinks, about 4 times a month. On average, the largest number of drinks consumed during a binge is 8.
  • Underage drinking is considered a form of excessive drinking because it is both illegal and often involves consumption in quantities and settings that can lead to serious immediate and long-term consequences.
    • People aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks (OJJDP) Adobe PDF File [PDF - 1.08 MB] External Web Site Icon.

Task Force Recommendations and Findings

This table lists interventions reviewed by the Community Guide, with a summary of the Task Force finding (definitions of findings). Click on an underlined intervention title for a summary of the review.

Interventions Directed to the General Population
Dram Shop Liability Recommended
March 2010
Electronic Screening and Brief Intervention (e-SBI) Recommended
August 2012
Increasing Alcohol Taxes Recommended
June 2007
Maintaining Limits on Days of Sale Recommended
June 2008
Maintaining Limits on Hours of Sale Recommended
February 2009
Overservice Law Enforcement Initiatives Insufficient Evidence
March 2010
Privatization of Retail Alcohol Sales Recommended Against
April 2011
Regulation of Alcohol Outlet Density Recommended
February 2007
Responsible Beverage Service Training Insufficient Evidence
October 2010
Interventions Directed to Underage Drinkers
Enhanced Enforcement of Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors Recommended
February 2006

Presentations and Promotional Materials

Slides and Presentations

Public Health Grand Rounds — Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use: What Public Health Can Do External Web Site Icon
Hosted by CDC

Action Guides

Strategizer 55 - Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density: An Action Guide
Developed by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America in partnership with the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Promotional Materials

Summary of Task Force Recommended Strategies: Evidence-Based Strategies to Prevent Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Related Harms Adobe PDF File [PDF - 71 kB]
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC’s Alcohol Program

Community Guide News: Community Preventive Services Task Force Recommends Electronic Screening and Brief Interventions for Excessive Alcohol Use
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC's Alcohol Program

Community Guide News: Maintaining Limits on Days and Hours of Sale: Reducing the Harms from Drinking Too Much by Limiting Access to Alcohol
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC’s Alcohol Program

Community Guide News: Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density Prevents Excessive Alcohol Use
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC’s Alcohol Program

Community Guide News: Task Force Finds Commercial Liability an Effective Strategy to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC's Alcohol Program

Community Guide News: Task Force Recommends Against Privatizing Retail Alcohol Sales
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC's Alcohol Program

Community Guide News: Task Force Recommends Increasing Alcohol Taxes to Prevent Excessive Alcohol Use and Other Harms
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC's Alcohol Program

Media Outreach

CDC Media Release: Task Force Finds Commercial Liability an Effective Strategy to Reduce Alcohol-related ProblemsExternal Web Site Icon
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC’s Alcohol Program

CDC Media Advisory About Maintaining Limits on Days and Hours of Sale: CDC Releases Two Reports on Excessive Alcohol Use and Related Harms External Web Site Icon
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC’s Alcohol Program

CDC Newsroom Formatted Article About Maintaining Limits on Days and Hours of Sale: Reducing the Harms from Drinking Too Much by Limiting Access to Alcohol Adobe PDF File [PDF - 208 kB] External Web Site Icon
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC’s Alcohol Program

Webinars

September 19, 2013 – Indian Health Service Clinical Grand Rounds: Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Related Harms External Web Site Icon
Developed by The Community Guide and hosted by the Indian Health Service


Reference

Bouchery EE, Harwood HJ, Sacks JJ, Simon CJ, Brewer RD. Economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in the U.S., 2006. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2011;41(5):516-24.




Disclaimer

The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Preventing excessive alcohol consumption. www.thecommunityguide.org/alcohol/index.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.