CBS Local — An alarming new study says rates of high-risk drinking and alcohol abuse among certain groups is rising in the United States. The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), also says that the number of Americans drinking jumped nearly 10 percent from 2002 to 2013.

“These are the largest alcohol increases we have seen in three decades,” says lead author Bridget Grant, PhD, of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, per a report. Grant was citing the study’s findings that show nearly three in four adults now drink alcohol.

The rate of high-risk drinking surged from 10 percent (20 million people) to nearly 13 percent (just under 30 million people) over the study’s span. High-risk drinking is considered four or more drinks on any day for women, and five or more drinks for men.

Spikes in overall drinking and problem drinking were especially high among women, older Americans, and minorities. Alcohol abuse and alcohol use disorders among women jumped from under 60 percent in 2002 to over 83 percent in 2013.

For African Americans and the elderly, the rate doubled for each group during that period. Grant says the research, “highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder.”

Grant added that many people believe substance abuse treatment programs don’t effectively treat alcohol problems, which she says is not the case.


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