Health Watch - Substance Abuse: Alcohol Use

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


Substance abuse doesn’t just affect crime rates. It can also be a health issue. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about some of the health impacts of drug and alcohol use. One step in understanding patterns of drug and alcohol abuse is understanding how these substances are used.

A recent analysis of alcohol use patterns conducted by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that alcohol use is on the rise in the United States. More people are drinking now than 20 years ago. While most individuals aren’t drinking more, the heaviest drinkers are more likely to drink more than five drinks a day.

Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions, says the trend seems to be the result of demographic changes and economic conditions. The most likely heavy drinkers are men under 60 without a college degree. The researchers say understanding these patterns is important for detecting early signs of an increase in risky drinking behaviors.

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November 2010


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