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Americans are drinking more alcohol than ever

La Crosse, WI, United States / Classic Rock 100.1

So if I have five beers every Saturday afternoon, that makes me a high-risk drinker? Interesting.

From Forbes Online:

More Americans are drinking alcohol in general, a new study finds, but perhaps more alarming is that many more fall into the categories of high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder (AUD). The increases were seen from the years 2001-2002 to 2012-2013 in a number of demographics. In fact, the greatest increases in alcohol use were women, minorities, older adults, and people of lower socioeconomic status. The authors point out that while the public conversation has largely been on opioids and pot in recent years, alcohol use and abuse have been quietly rising.

The new study, published this week in the JAMA Psychiatry, looked at data from almost 80,000 participants taking part in two large-scale studies in the U.S. Participants were interviewed face-to-face and asked about their daily drinking habits. The researchers were interested in their alcohol use over a 12-month period, high-risk drinking (four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on at least one day of the week), and AUD as defined by the DSM-IV, the “bible” of mental health disorders.

Almost all kinds of drinking across all demographics rose between the two time points, and some rose sharply.

• Alcohol use rose from 65% to 73% of the adult population, which is about an 11% increase. The increase was much higher for minorities, women, seniors, and people with less education and income.

• High-risk drinking rose from about 10% to 13% of the population, or an almost 30% increase. In minorities, women, and older people, the numbers were considerably higher.

• People who were identified as having alcohol use disorder (AUD) increased from 9% to 13% of the population, an increase of almost 50%. For women, the increase in AUD was 84%, for Hispanic and African-American individuals it was 52% and 94%, respectively. And for older people, the increase was a whopping 105%.

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