Forty-four percent of the adult U.S. population (aged 18 and over) are current drinkers who have consumed at least 12 drinks in the preceding year (Dawson et al. 1995). Although most people who drink do so safely, the minority who consume alcohol heavily produce an impact that ripples outward to encompass their families, friends, and communities. The following statistics give a glimpse of the magnitude of problem drinking: Approximately 14 million Americans (7.4% of the population) ”meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or alcoholism (Gran et al. 1994). More than one-half of American adults have a close family member who has or has had alcoholism webmd ( Dawson and Grant 1998). Approximately one in four children younger than 18 years old in the United States is exposed to alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence in the family (Grant 2000). Alcohol consumption has consequences for the health and well – being of those who drink and, by extension, the lives of those around them.

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