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NIDA

Alcohol

Brief Description

People drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people—and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power. Why does alcohol cause people to act and feel differently? How much is too much? Why do some people become addicted while others do not? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is researching the answers to these and many other questions about alcohol. Here’s what is known:

Alcohol’s effects vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • How much you drink
  • How often you drink
  • Your age
  • Your health status
  • Your family history

While drinking alcohol is itself not necessarily a problem—drinking too much can cause a range of consequences, and increase your risk for a variety of problems. For more information on alcohol’s effects on the body, please see the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s related web page describing alcohol’s effects on the body.

NIDA does not conduct research on alcohol; for more information, please visit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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Statistics and Trends

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Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Alcohol for 8th Graders, 10th Graders, and 12th Graders; 2015 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period 8th Graders 10th Graders 12th Graders
Alcohol Lifetime 26.10 47.10 64.00
Past Year 21.00 41.90 58.20
Past Month 9.70 21.50 35.30

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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; 2015 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period Ages 12 or Older Ages 12 to 17 Ages 18 to 25 Ages 26 or Older
Alcohol Lifetime 81.00 28.40 82.40 87.10
Past Year 65.70 22.70 75.50 69.20
Past Month 51.70 9.60 58.30 55.60

Related Publications

Related Resources

Other Resources

Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies in human volunteers conducted to answer specific health questions. Learn about the NIH-sponsored clinical trials available to you.

Other Clinical Trials information sources:

This page was last updated September 2016

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NIDA (). Alcohol. Retrieved , from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol

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