Canadian health officials last week issued revised government advice on alcohol consumption, changing the low-risk level from two drinks a day to two drinks a week. Health officials went on to say that no amount is safe and urged citizens to give up alcohol altogether.
There is mounting evidence to suggest that all alcohol consumption, no matter how moderate, can have negative health consequences. Even light alcohol consumption increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and certain types of cancer – and as alcohol consumption increases, so do health risks and alcohol-related deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognize that there is no such thing as risk-free drinking, and define moderate drinking as 2 drinks or fewer per day for men and no more than one drink per day, although they don’t go as far as that its Canadian equivalent day for women. Despite the well-known health risks, more than two-thirds of adult drinkers regularly exceed these levels.
In some parts of the country, excessive drinking is far more common than in others. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Nevada residents consumed 3.43 gallons per resident age 14 and older in 2020, the third-highest among states. Nationally, alcohol consumption for the same year was 2.45 gallons per person.
The health risks of excessive alcohol consumption go beyond chronic diseases. Alcohol accounted for 27.3% of all Nevada traffic fatalities between 2016 and 2020.
Data on alcohol-related traffic fatalities comes from the 2022 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a joint program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
|rank||Condition||Alcohol consumption per capita, 2020 (Gal.)||Adults who drink excessively (%)||Traffic deaths with alcohol (%)|