Download the Alcohol PES Binge Drinking Fact Sheet
Download the KIP 2016 Youth Alcohol Use in KY Infographic
Download the KIP 2016 Youth Binge Drinking in KY Infographic

Binge Drinking Defined:

The National Institute of Alcohol Awareness and Abuse (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.NIAAA, February 2017

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. SAMHSA, November 2016 

The NIAAA recommends for older adults ages 60 years and up, binge drinking should be defined as no more than 3 drinks per day for men, and no more than 2 drinks per day for women. SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2014

Kentucky Youth Binge Drinking:KY_Map-_Blue.png

  • 1 in 10 (10.4%) 10th graders reported they drank 5 or more drinks of alcohol in a row (binge drinking) in the past 2 weeks. KIP Survey, 2016

3 in 5 (62.2%) 10th graders indicated 'Moderate' or 'Great Risk' if a person has 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row. KIP Survey, 2016

U.S. Binge Drinking Prevalence:College_Drinking_is_a_BIG_DEAL-_NIAAA_Matrix.jpg

  • UNDERAGE: Teens and college students, most of whom are first-time or inexperienced drinkers, are the most likely to binge drink.  90% of the alcohol consumed by youth 12-20 in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinks. OJJDP Drinking in America: Myths, Realities, and Prevention Policy, 2005

  • COLLEGE PREVALENCE:1 in 3 (32%) of 18-24 year olds reported high-risk binge drinking in the last 30-days. National Survey on Drug Use & Health; CDC KY BRFSS Report, 2015

  • ADULT PREVALENCE: 15% of adults reported high-risk binge drinking in the last 30-days. National Survey on Drug Use & Health; CDC KY BRFSS Report, 2015

Economic Burden: 2010 National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption. Am J Prev Med, 2015

  • Binge drinking cost the United States $191.1 billion in 2010.

  • Binge drinking was responsible for >70% of the total excessive drinking costs in all states, and >40% of the binge drinking–related costs were paid by government.

Health Problems associated with Binge Drinking: CDC, October 2015

  • Parker_Choices_Image_4_-_Mid_Level_Shot.pngUnintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
  • Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological damage
  • Sexual dysfunction, and
  • Poor control of diabetes

Binge drinkers are 14x more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers. JAMA Binge drinking among U.S. adults, 2003


Slide17.JPGWhat is a "Binge in a Can"?

  • According to the CDC,  in the United States, a standard alcoholic drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol; therefore drinking one 23.5oz can of Four Loko at 12% ABV is a binge in a can

  • This Four Loko single can contains 4.7 standard servings of alcohol, or as much alcohol content as about 5.7 12oz. light beers. State Attorney Generals Communication from the Chief Legal Officers September 2015



Vital Signs: Binge Drinking Among Women and High School Girls - United States, 2011
MMWR. January 11, 2013; 62(01); 9-13

The Center for Disease Control released a study that found that binge drinking is reported by one in eight U.S. adult women and one in five high school girls. The prevalence and intensity of binge drinking was highest among women aged 18-24 years. In 2011, more than one in three high school girls reported drinking and one in five reported binge drinking; most high school girls who drank reported binge drinking. The report suggests that more widespread implementation of evidence-based interventions such as those recommended by the Guide to Community Preventive Services and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, would be expected to reduce the frequency and intensity, and ultimately the prevalence of binge drinking among women and girls, and the harms related to it.

Trends in Extreme Binge Drinking Among US High School Seniors

1Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Maryland

2013 American Medical Association JAMA Pediatrics.  Published online September 16, 2013 

Authors: Ralph W. Hingson, ScD, MPH, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research; Aaron White, PhD, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Maryland


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as the amount of alcohol leading to a blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.08%, which, for most adults, would be reached by consuming 5 drinks for men or 4 drinks for women during a 2-hour period.1 For younger drinkers, this increases short- and long-term risk of blackouts, homicides, car crashes, sexual assaults, altered brain development, and other deleterious outcomes.2 This study found that one in five high school seniors reports binge drinking in the last two weeks, and one in ten reports "extreme" binge drinking - having 10 or more drinks on one occasion. The surveys were completed by a nationally-representative group of U.S. high school seniors. In all, 20.2 percent of the teenagers said they'd had at least five drinks on one or more occasions in the past two weeks, 10.5 percent had consumed at least 10 drinks in a row and 5.6 percent at least 15 drinks. Researchers conclude that there's a need for more policy interventions to reduce teenage drinking. That includes youth-specific policies, such as better enforcement of underage drinking laws, but also policies directed at the general population, including adequate alcohol taxes.