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How “normal” is the amount of alcohol you drink?

A report put together by The Washington Post revealed startling statistics about what “normal” alcohol consumption in America looks like.

According to the report, 30 percent of Americans don’t drink at all. That isn’t the most surprising statistic, though. What might surprise you is the data you’ll find higher up the chart.

The top 10 percent of American adults, which equates to around 24 million people, consume an average of 74 alcoholic drinks each week. If you break that number out, that means they consume a little more than 10 drinks each day.

The figures come from the published book “Paying the Tab” by Philip J. Cook. His calculations are derived from data gathered by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Cook goes on to explain that the top 10 percent of drinkers consume over half of the total amount of alcohol consumed in any given year.

I think it’s clear to be able to assume chronic drinking problems to those consuming over 10 drinks a day. Alcohol companies, like other industries, rely on that top group of consumers to drive profits and increase sales. Unlike other industries, those people that heavily consume alcohol regularly put themselves and others at risk, especially when they chose to drink and drive.

“One consequence is that the heaviest drinkers are of greatly disproportionate importance to the sales and profitability of the alcoholic-beverage industry,” Cook writes. “If the top decile somehow could be induced to curb their consumption level to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile), then total ethanol sales would fall by 60 percent.”

Putting the extremes aside, let’s look at this from a more relatable perspective. Many people might agree that it isn’t uncommon to have a glass of wine with dinner each night. According to Cook’s research, that alone would put you in the top 30 percent of American adults in terms of alcohol consumption. Compare that to drinking two BOTTLES of wine with dinner each night. That still wouldn’t break you into the top ten percent of America’s alcohol consumers.

To recap – the top ten percent of alcohol consumers in America consume 74 drinks a week, on average. The Washington Post breaks it down for us a little further. 74 alcohol drinks are equal to more than 4.5 750ml bottles of Jack Daniels (around $105), 18 bottles of wine (around $270) or three 24-can cases of beer (around $75). This is per week. Every seven days.

Ignition interlock devices should be mandated for all drunk driving offenders nationwide, even first-time offenders. Of those 24 million alcohol consumers in the top ten percent, it’s terrifying to think about how many of them get behind the wheel of their vehicles while intoxicated. It isn’t enough to wait until the second or third offense to require an interlock. Ask families of victims. It could be too late.

Ignition interlock devices are an affordable and effective solution to guaranteeing sober driving. Intoxalock can help you install a device at one of our over 2,500 convenient locations nationwide. Call us today at (855) 531-5244 to find out how we can help you stay safe on the road with the installation of an ignition interlock device.


Category: Drunk Driving

Carly has been with Intoxalock for two years. Her areas of expertise include content marketing and market research within the DUI and ignition interlock sectors. She also has experience overseeing the affiliate partner program at Intoxalock and managing B2B relationships.

Read more posts by Carly Flaws
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