Excessive consumption of alcohol was responsible for approximately 75 000
deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost (about 30 years of life
lost per death) in the United States in 2001.1,2Binge drinking, typically defined as the consumption of
5 or more alcoholic drinks on 1 occasion for a man or 4 or more drinks on
a single occasion for a woman,3 accounted for
more than half of these deaths and for approximately two thirds of the years
of potential life lost.1 Binge drinking is
also associated with a wide range of serious health and social problems, including
sexually transmitted disease, unintended pregnancy, sudden infant death syndrome,
acute myocardial infarction, and motor vehicle crashes.4,5 The
World Health Organization estimates that use of alcohol, including binge drinking,
is responsible for 4% of the global burden of disease, only slightly less
than the burden imposed individually by tobacco use and high blood pressure.6
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