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What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is the ingredient that makes a person feel intoxicated - aka drunk. It is known as booze, juice, hooch or sauce. Alcohol enters the bloodstream as soon as you take your first sip. Alcohol’s immediate effects can appear within about 10 minutes and increase your blood alcohol concentration level (BAC), which determines how drunk you are. 

What is a “drink”?

In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 1.5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)

What is excessive drinking?

Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

  • Binge drinking - is the most common form of excessive drinking and is defined as consuming: 
    • For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion
    • For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion
  • Heavy drinking is defined as consuming: 
    • For women, 8 or more drinks per week
    • For men, 15 or more drinks per week

What is moderate drinking?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. 

**Information on this page is adapted from the National Institute on Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention