USA: Alcohol Constitutes Public Health Crisis

USA: Alcohol Use Disorders Rising

The prevalence of high-risk alcohol use and alcohol use disorder increased sharply over a decade, constituting a public health crisis, a JAMA Psychiatry study concludes. Two surveys taken in 2001–2002 and 2012–2013 asked 80,000 U.S. adults about their alcohol use.

Key findings

The proportion of people who reported consuming alcohol in the past year increased from 65% to 73% over the 11 years.

The prevalence of high-risk alcohol use — i.e., consuming 4 or more drinks on a given day for women, 5 or more for men, at least weekly in the past year — rose from 10% to 13%.

The overall prevalence of alcohol use disorder increased from 9% to 13%.

Women and racial, ethnic minorities disproportionately affected

The study shows that increases in high-risk alcohol use were largest for women (58% increase), racial/ethnic minorities (41–62%), and seniors (65%). The study also shows that increases in alcohol use disorders were highest among women (84% increase), black participants (93%), and seniors (107%).

… the United States is facing a crisis with alcohol use, one that is currently costly and about to get worse … [reminding] us that the chilling increases in opioid-related deaths reflect a broader issue regarding additional substance-related problems,” writes Marc A. Schuckit, MD in an editorial for JAMA Psychiatry.

Substantial increases in alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and DSM-IV alcohol use disorder constitute a public health crisis and portend increases in chronic disease comorbidities in the United States, especially among women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.”

Source Website: JAMA Psychiatry