Published on March 6th, 2014

Brief Description

Alcohol is created by fermenting yeast, sugars and starches. It is known as ethyl alcohol or ethanol, and is the ingredient in beer, wine and liquor that causes intoxication. Alcohol works as an central nervous system depressant. When alcohol is consumed it is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the blood stream. The standard alcoholic drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol to 12 ounces of beer; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor.


When alcohol is consumed it affects every organ in the individuals body. Pregnant women who consume alcohol, there can be damage to developing fetus by alcohol. When an individual in intoxicated they may experience impaired brain function and motor skills. Regular heavy drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease.

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that can harm the individuals health, personal relationships, employment and other aspects of their lives, as well as potentially leading to alcoholism. Prolonged use of alcohol can result in alcoholism or alcohol dependency, which is diagnosed as a disease characterized by the craving to drink alcohol despite the negative effects it has on themselves and those around them.


Statistics and Trends

Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Alcohol for 8th-Graders, 10th-Graders, and 12th-Graders; 2013 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period 8th-Graders 10th-Graders 12th-Graders
Alcohol Lifetime 27.80 52.10 68.20
Past Year 22.10 47.10 62.00
Past Month 10.20 25.70 [39.20]

* Data in brackets indicate statistically significant change from the previous year. Previous MTF Data

National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Trends in Prevalence of Alcohol for Ages 12 or Older, Ages 12 to 17, Ages 18 to 25, and Ages 26 or Older; 2012 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period Ages 12 or Older Ages 12 to 17 Ages 18 to 25 Ages 26 or Older
Alcohol Lifetime 82.30 [32.40] 84.40 88.10
Past Year 66.70 [26.30] 77.40 69.90
Past Month 52.10 12.90 60.20 55.60
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