Top 10% of Americans enjoy an average of 74 alcoholic drinks per week

Thirty percent of adult Americans are teetotalers. Ten percent consume an average of 0.02 drinks a week. Another ten percent have 0.14 drinks per week (I'm in this category, as I will have a taste of my wife's wine when she orders a glass). The next ten percent has 0.63 drinks a week, followed by 2.17 drinks, 6.25 drinks, and 15.28 drinks. The top ten percent consumes a whopping 74 drinks a week. That's over 10 drinks a day!

I didn't find data for the top once percent of drinkers, but these are probably the folks who are dying from drinking. According to the Washington Post, alcohol deaths are at a 35-year high. Last year 30,700 Americans died from alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis. That beats heroin overdose deaths (11,000) by a longshot.

A recent study quantified the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of common recreational drugs. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine. The reason? The ratio between a toxic dose and a typical dose is extremely narrow with alcohol. If you're happily buzzed at say, three drinks, three more might make you sick, and three after that may put you in alcohol poisoning territory.

For this reason, some researchers are starting to urge public health officials to focus more on the dangers posed by alcohol, and less on the dangers of less toxic drugs, like marijuana and LSD.

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“Alcohol and the Human Body,” a cautionary film from 1949

On the science of alcohol and alcholism, from 1949, Encyclopedia Brittanica films. Booze: “a potential menace to community safety as well as personal health”.

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Drunk parents appear as grotesque monsters in this creepy PSA

This video was made by Finland-based Fragile Childhood, "an awareness-raising campaign, which aims to reduce parents' use of alcohol by helping them understand the harm it causes to children."

Here's another: What if children could choose their parents? Read the rest

Genocide, not genes: indigenous peoples' genetic alcoholism is a racist myth

I've heard -- and repeated -- the theory that addiction rates among indigenous people in the Americas was caused by genetics -- specifically, that "new world" populations hadn't gone through the European plague years' genetic bottleneck that killed everyone who couldn't survive on alcoholic beverages (these having been boiled during their production and thus less likely to carry infectious diseases). Read the rest

10 videos of drunk people trying to eat sandwiches

Life can be difficult when you are drunk. And sandwiches are life.

Unique graphic novel stars hard drinking actors Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris, and Oliver Reed

Unique graphic novel stars hard drinking UK actors

"Pre-gaming" leads to riskier behavior and more alcohol consumption, groundbreaking study finds

A Swiss study has found that "pre-drinking," "pre-funking," "pre-gaming"—basically, the ritual among college-age young adults of drinking before you go out to drink, leads to "excessive consumption and adverse consequences."

Pre-gaming didn't have a name when I was their age; it's interesting how the phenomenon (is it even a phenomenon?) has become a media meme this year. This NYT story is another example.

I realize the newly-released study provides citeable evidence about a behavior with dangerous consequences, but the results are kind of like, yo, thanks, Captain Obvious.

"Increased drinking was associated with a greater likelihood of blackouts, hangovers, absences from work or school or alcohol poisoning. Pre-drinkers were also found to engage more often in unintended drug use, unsafe sex, drunken driving or violent behavior."

Sounds about right. More in the LA Times. Read the rest