There was an 11 percent overall increase in alcohol use among adults in the United States between 2002 and 2012, showed a new study led by researchers of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The study, posted online Wednesday, used data from face-to-face interviews conducted in two national epidemiologic surveys on alcohol and related conditions, which were joined by 43,093 and 36,309 adults respectively.
The study concluded that between 2002 and 2012, an increase in alcohol use, high-risk drinking, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) occurred in the total U.S. population and across almost all sociodemographic subgroups, especially women, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.
Alcohol use, high-risk drinking and AUD rose 11.2 percent, 29.9 percent and 49.4 percent respectively.
The study called for a broader effort to address the individual, biological, environmental and societal factors that influence the problem of alcohol use and abuse which could have economic costs amounting to about 250 billion U.S. dollars.
"These increases constitute a public health crisis that may have been overshadowed by increases in much less prevalent substance use, such as marijuana, opiates, and heroin," the study warned.