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Health Indicator Report of Alcohol Consumption - Heavy Drinking

'''Heavy drinking''' is a type of excessive alcohol use. It exceeds the Dietary Guidelines for Americans definition of moderate drinking which is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Most heavy drinkers are also binge drinkers. According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol use is responsible for '''95,000 deaths in the United States''' each year, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years.^1^ Estimates also suggest that '''686 Utahns''' die from alcohol-attributable causes each year and Utah is ranked seventh in the nation for alcohol poisoning deaths.^2^ 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.^3^ In 2014, the cost of excessive alcohol use in Utah was estimated to be $1.2 billion.^4^[[br]] [[br]] ---- #Preventing Chronic Disease, 2014, Contribution of excessive alcohol consumption to deaths and years of potential life lost in the United States #Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) application, 2021. Available at [] #American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2010, National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption #Utah Department of Public Safety, Alcohol Abuse Tracking Committee, 2016 Report

Heavy Drinking in the Past 30 Days, Utah and U.S., 2011-2020


The calculated variable for heavy drinking uses the definition "more than 14 drinks for men" and "more than 7 drinks for women". See Data Interpretation Issues for further information.   [[br]] These rates are crude rates, not age-adjusted, given that the Healthy People 2020 Objective is based on crude rates.

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

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). Errors were minimized by the use of strict calling protocols, good questionnaire design, standardization of interviewer behavior, interviewer training, and frequent, on-site interviewer monitoring and supervision. The CDC defines heavy drinking as 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week for women or 15 or more alcoholic beverages per week for men. However, because this is a calculated variable and there is the need to incorporate a continuous range of responses, the definition used in the calculation is, "more than 14 drinks for men" and "more than 7 drinks for women".


'''Heavy drinking''' is defined as consuming 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week for women or 15 or more alcoholic beverages per week for men. It is listed as the percentage of adults aged 18 years and older who reported heavy drinking during the 30 days prior to the survey. [[img src ="" width = "652" height= "455"]]


Number of survey respondents who reported heavy 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-15:

Reduce the proportion of adults who drank excessively in the previous 30 days
U.S. Target: 25.4 percent

Other Objectives

Healthy People Objective SA-15, Reduce the proportion of adults who drank excessively in the previous 30 days, includes adults who reported heavy drinking and/or binge drinking.

How Are We Doing?

Using data from both landline and cell phones in 2020, it was estimated that '''4.4%''' (crude rate) of Utah adults reported heavy drinking in the 30 days before the survey.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Estimates for 2020 show that '''6.7%''' of U.S. adults reported heavy drinking in the past 30 days whereas '''4.4%''' of Utah adults reported heavy drinking (crude rates).

What Is Being Done?

The [ Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health] 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

^ ^ ====Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention==== Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (A-SBI) is a preventive service like hypertension or cholesterol screening that can occur as part of a patient's wellness visit. It identifies and helps individuals who are drinking too much. 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].[[br]] [[br]] ====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. The number is: 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.

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]] [[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 10/26/2021, Published on 12/02/2021
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 Sat, 03 December 2022 14:59:08 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 2 Dec 2021 12:27:12 MST