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Substance Abuse Services

About Alcohol

If you choose to drink, it's always smart to have a good plan. In fact, planning makes any social experience a lot more fun and memorable. The same goes for social events during which there is alcohol consumption.

First and foremost, plan on who is going to be the designated driver or how you can find other means of transportation. Second, think about how long the social event is going to last (i.e. tail-gating, a wedding reception or all-night party). Avoid rapid drinking or drinking games. When you play drinking games, you’re not in control of how much you drink.

When does alcohol abuse become alcohol dependence?

Many of the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse overlap with the signs and symptoms of alcohol dependency. There is a fine line between the two, but the crossover occurs when the person becomes  dependent on alcohol.

More about alcohol use, dependence, and abuse...

Moderation skills

Minimize and avoid health risks by implementing research-based drinking guidelines. They are a guide to help you lower your risk for health and safety problems related to drinking.

If you are drinking too much or you feel that you should stop drinking altogether, the strategies contained in this brochure can help you improve your life and health: How to Cut Down on Your Drinking


Alcohol use is very common in our society. Drinking alcohol has immediate effects that can increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. Excessive alcohol use, either in the form of heavy drinking (drinking more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women), or binge drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women), can lead to increased risk of health problems such as liver disease or unintentional injuries.

According to recent national surveys, more than half of the adult U.S. population drank alcohol in the past 30 days. Approximately 5% of the total population drank heavily, while 15% of the population binge drank. From 2001–2005, there were approximately 79,000 deaths annually attributable to excessive alcohol use. In fact, excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for people in the United States each year.

Many people do not understand why individuals become addicted to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug abuse. They mistakenly view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem and may characterize those who take drugs as morally weak. One very common belief is that drug abusers should be able to just stop taking drugs if they are only willing to change their behavior. What people often underestimate is the complexity of drug addiction—that it is a disease that impacts the brain and because of that, stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower. Through scientific advances we now know much more about how exactly drugs work in the brain, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and resume their productive lives.

Additional Links
“A Family History of Alcoholism: Are You at Risk?”

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) publication

If you are among the millions of people in this country who have a parent, grandparent, or other close relative with alcoholism, you may have wondered what your family's history of alcoholism means for you.

  • Are problems with alcohol a part of your future?
  • Is your risk for becoming an alcoholic greater than for people who do not have a family history of alcoholism?
  • If so, what can you do to lower your risk?

This publication provides great insights.