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Health Indicator Report of Alcohol Consumption - Binge Drinking

'''''Binge drinking''''' is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States and those who binge drink tend to do so frequently and with high intensity.^1^ According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol use is responsible for '''88,000 deaths in the United States''' each year, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years.^2^ Estimates also suggest that over 500 Utahns die from alcohol-attributable causes each year^3^ and Utah is ranked seventh in the nation for alcohol poisoning deaths.^4^ Excessive alcohol use is also associated with many health and social harms, including liver cirrhosis, certain cancers, unintentional injuries, violence and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Excessive drinking cost the United States $249 billion in 2010, which calculates to $2.05 per drink.^1^ In 2014, the cost of excessive alcohol use in Utah was estimated to be $1.2 billion.^5^ '''SOURCES''' # Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). ''Fact Sheets - Binge Drinking''. Retrieved from [ CDC] # Alcohol and Public Health: Alcohol-Related Disease Impact. (2017). ''Average for United States 2006-2010 Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Due to Excessive Alcohol Use''. Retrieved from [ CDC] # Alcohol and Public Health: Alcohol-Related Disease Impact. (2017). ''Average for Utah 2006-2010 Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Due to Excessive Alcohol Use''. Retrieved from [ CDC] # CDC Vital Signs. (2015). ''Alcohol Poisoning Deaths Infographic''. Retrieved from [ CDC] # Alcohol Abuse Tracking Committee, Utah Department of Public Safety. (2017). ''Alcohol Abuse Tracking Committee 2017 Report''. Retrieved from [ Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health: DSAMH]
The frequency and intensity of binge drinking are measures used to examine the adverse health effects for this pattern of alcohol consumption. '''Binge drinking intensity''' is defined as the '''average largest number of drinks consumed on occasion'''. The risk of adverse outcomes (e.g., unintentional injuries) increases with the number of drinks consumed or with progressively higher blood alcohol concentrations.^6^ Among binge drinkers in Utah, the intensity of binge drinking was '''7.7 drinks per occasion'''. In the U.S., the intensity was '''7.5 drinks per occasion'''. Unlike the overall prevalence of binge drinking, where Utah rates are much lower than the national average, in Utah, intensity of binge drinking has been much more similar to the national average in recent years and was higher than the national average in 2018.[[br]] [[br]] ---- 6. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 2003, A population-based case-crossover and case-control study of alcohol and the risk of injury.

Intensity of Binge Drinking Among Adults, BRFSS, United States, 2015

supplemental image
The figure above shows the intensity of binge drinking among adults in the United States during 2015, as determined from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System combined landline and cellular telephone developmental data set. States with the highest intensity of adult binge drinking generally were located in the southern Mountain states and Midwest, and included some states (e.g., Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah) that had a lower prevalence of binge drinking. The Utah 2015 intensity of binge drinking was 7.6 drinks per occasion, placing it '''among the states with the highest rates'''.

Binge Drinking Intensity in the Past 30 Days by Year, Utah and U.S., 2009-2019


The rates shown in the data table and on the line graph report the mean values. Rates shown on the U.S. map are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. Census standard population.

Data Sources

  • Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health
  • U.S. Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Division of Behavioral Surveillance, CDC Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services

Data Interpretation Issues

To reduce bias and more accurately represent population data, the BRFSS survey methodology changed. In 2009, the survey began including surveys on cellular phones in addition to landline phones. And a new weighting methodology, known as "iterative proportional fitting" (raking) was implemented. More details about these changes can be found at []. As with all surveys, some error results from non-response (e.g., refusal to participate in the survey or to answer specific questions), and measurement (e.g., social desirability or recall bias). Error was minimized by use of strict calling protocols, good questionnaire design, standardization of interviewer behavior, interviewer training, and frequent, on-site interviewer monitoring and supervision.


'''''Binge drinking''''' is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours. It is listed as the percentage of survey respondents who reported binge drinking during the 30 days prior to the survey. [[img src ="" width = "652" height= "455"]]


Number of survey respondents who reported binge drinking during the 30 days prior to the survey.


Number of survey respondents excluding those with missing, "Don't know/Not sure", or "Refused" responses.

Healthy People Objective SA-14.3:

Reduce the proportion of persons engaging in binge drinking during the past 30 days--adults aged 18 years and older
U.S. Target: 24.4 percent

How Are We Doing?

Using data from both landline and cell phones in 2019, it was estimated that '''11.2%''' (crude rate) of Utah adults binge drank at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey. Utah is '''well below the Healthy People 2020 objective of 24.4%''' for this measure.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Estimates show that in 2019 '''16.7% of U.S. adults''' reported binge drinking in the past 30 days whereas '''11.2% of Utah adults''' reported binge drinking (crude rates). The percentage of adults who reported binge drinking in the past 30 days was substantially lower in Utah than in the U.S. for all years reported between 1989-2019.

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) [ Violence and Injury Prevention Program] receives funding from the [ Alcohol Program at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)] for a full-time alcohol epidemiologist. With this additional capacity at the UDOH, it is now possible to conduct more monitoring and surveillance of excessive alcohol use and related harms. The [ Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH)] is the agency responsible for ensuring that substance abuse and mental health prevention and treatment services are available statewide. The Division also acts as a resource by providing general information, research, and statistics to the public regarding substances of abuse and mental health services.

Evidence-based Practices

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends evidence based strategies to reduce excessive alcohol consumption in [ The Community Guide]. These strategies include: # Increasing alcoholic beverage costs # Limiting the number of retail alcohol outlets that sell alcoholic beverages in a given area # Holding alcohol retailers responsible for the harms caused by their underage or intoxicated patrons (dram shop liability) # Restricting access to alcohol by maintaining limits on the days and hours of alcohol retail sales # Consistent enforcement of laws against underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving # Screening and counseling for alcohol misuse. [[br]] [[br]] ''The Community Preventive Services task force is an independent body of prevention and public health experts.''

Available Services

Services include: ====Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention==== Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (A-SBI) is a preventive service, similar to a hypertension or cholesterol screening, which can occur as part of a patient's wellness visit. A-SBI works to identify individuals at risk for alcohol use problems, and is followed by a brief discussion between the individual and a service provider. A referral to specialized treatment is provided when necessary. A-SBI aims to increase a person's awareness of their alcohol use and its consequences. When alcohol is being consumed in an excessive amount, the individual is motivated to either reduce risky drinking or seek treatment. [ A-SBI] is recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the Community Preventive Services Task Force (Community Guide), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). For more information on A-SBI, please visit the CDC vital signs [ website]. ====Substance Abuse Helplines==== '''National''': The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a toll-free referral helpline. SAMHSA's National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. 1-800-662-HELP (4357) '''Utah''': Dial 2-1-1 for state and community service information. Code 2-1-1 can now be accessed from anywhere in the state of Utah. 211 Info Bank, a program of Community Services Council, is a free information and referral line for health, human and community services. 211 provides information and referral on many topics. Online resources for 2-1-1 are available at [].

Health Program Information

A drink of alcohol is equivalent to a '''12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a drink with one shot of liquor'''.[[br]] ====A Standard Drink ==== [[img src=""]] Knowing standard drink sizes and the number of drinks per container can help you make informed decisions about your drinking. Find a '''standard drink size calculator tool''' from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at [].
Page Content Updated On 11/02/2020, Published on 12/21/2020
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sun, 24 October 2021 10:13:30 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Mon, 21 Dec 2020 15:17:29 MST