By: Amanda Blount
Alcohol is known for being the most commonly abused drug in the United States affecting one in every 12 adults with alcohol abuse or dependence. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol is the third leading cause of death behind cancer and heart disease.
The average alcoholic drink in the United States contains 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol according to NIAAA. The federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 defines moderate alcohol drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Heavy alcohol drinking is defined as having more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week for women and more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week for men.
Through numerous studies, it is clear that there is a link between alcohol consumption and cancer of the head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal. Internationally, one in five of all alcohol-related deaths is due to cancer. The National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services has reported the consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. Data from 2009 have shown an estimate of 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol related.
People drink to socialize, party, and to relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on and varies from person to person, depending on a variety of factors. Making the choice of drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol is not necessarily a problem, but drinking too much can cause a range of consequences.
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