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.