The Landscape of Alcohol Use in the U.S.

Alcohol use is one of the leading public health concerns for State alcohol and drug agencies in the United States. In 2020, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 50% (or 138.5 million people) of all people drank alcohol in the last month. Adults aged 26 and older made up the age with the highest reported use (54.6% or 119.2 million), followed by people aged 18-25 years old (51.5% or 17.2 million), and then adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old (8.2% or 2.1 million people).

State alcohol and drug agency leaders are working to address this challenge through initiatives related to prevention, treatment, and recovery. State Directors provide leadership by promoting standards of care, evidence-based services, and continuous quality improvement innovations. State Directors also ensure public dollars are dedicated to programs that work through performance data management and reporting, contract monitoring, corrective action planning, on site-reviews, and technical assistance.

This fact sheet dives into the current landscape of alcohol use, emergency room/motor vehicle accidents, impact of COVID-19, benefits of prevention, benefits of treatment and recovery, and key federal programs related to alcohol.

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