New York State Department of Health Reminds New Yorkers of the Dangers of Binge Drinking Ahead of New Year Celebrations

New Report Found One in Six Adults Reported Binge or Heavy Drinking

Excessive Alcohol Use is Responsible for More Than 6,700 Deaths Annually in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 29, 2022) – The New York State Department of Health is reminding New Yorkers of the dangers that come with binge and heavy drinking as we approach New Year's Eve celebrations.

"As we prepare to gather with loved ones and celebrate the new year, it's important to know the behaviors and risk factors associated with binge drinking," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "Binge and heavy drinking have dangerous short- and long-term health impacts and lead to thousands of premature deaths in New York every year. I thank the Department's team at the Center for Community Health for shedding light on an issue that impacts so many New Yorkers."

Binge drinking and heavy drinking are two patterns of excessive alcohol use. The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion. Heavy drinking is defined as consuming eight or more drinks per-week for women and 15 or more drinks per-week for men.

"We know that excessive drinking can result in negative short-term and longer-term impacts our on health and well-being. While alcohol is often a part of New Year's Celebrations, it is important that it is consumed responsibly to help ensure that everyone has a safe and healthy holiday," OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said.

The latest key findings from the Department's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) report, an annual survey of adults, showed one in six adults in New York State (16.7 percent) reported excessive alcohol use in the form of either binge or heavy drinking. While fewer New Yorkers reported binge drinking than the year prior, there was still a slight increase in reported heavy drinking. An estimated 14.7 percent of adults in New York State reported binge drinking, while 6.5 percent reported heavy drinking. The survey is administered annually and the results are compiled by the Department's Center for Community Health.

Excessive alcohol use is one of the leading causes of preventable and premature deaths in the United States, responsible for more than 6,700 deaths annually in New York, and more than 140,000 deaths nationwide. Excessive drinking is also associated with both short-term and long-term health outcomes. Short-term outcomes include unintentional injuries and violence. Long-term health impacts include increased risk for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, liver disease, and other digestive diseases. An estimated 3.2 percent of all cancer deaths in New York State are also attributable to alcohol consumption.

Binge and heavy drinking can impact all population groups, but the BRFSS report found that binge drinking was more commonly reported in men, and adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more. White, non-Hispanic adults also reported higher rates of binge drinking (17.3 percent) and heavy drinking (9 percent) when compared to adults representing other racial and ethnic groups. The prevalence of binge drinking was significantly higher in adults who reported frequent mental distress, and among adults who currently smoke cigarettes.

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions on public gatherings may have also had an impact on the prevalence of binge and heavy drinking. The BRFSS report acknowledged changes in alcohol policy could have impacted the patterns of alcohol consumption after bars, restaurants, and pubs closed down for a period of time, but were later authorized to serve to-go alcohol, and liquor retail outlets were deemed essential and remained open.

If you or someone you know needs help finding treatment for alcohol or other substance dependence, you can find treatment and prevention resources on the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports website here.

For more information related to excessive alcohol use and prevention, please contact the NYS Alcohol Surveillance and Epidemiology Program at

If you'd like to reduce your alcohol use, visit CDC's tool to check your drinking and make a personalized plan for drinking less.