In a recent report, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 38 million Americans drink to excess, but only one in six people had a doctor ask them about their alcohol use.
This binge drinking—defined as drinking four or more alcoholic drinks in a setting for women and five drinks for men—is estimated to cost the American economy about $224 billion a year. This cost includes health risk, property damage, and lost productivity. High alcohol use is also linked to 88,000 U.S. deaths each year, with breast cancer being the most common cancer-related death for women and mouth, throat and esophageal cancer being the most common deaths for men.
The CDC emphasizes that doctors and other health care professionals should talk to patients about their drinking.