Binge Drinking, Other Substance Use, and Concurrent Use in the U.S., 2016–2018
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Binge Drinking, Other Substance Use, and Concurrent Use in the U.S., 2016–2018

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  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Am J Prev Med
    • Description:

      The use of multiple substances heightens the risk of overdoses. Multiple substances, including alcohol, are commonly found among people dying of overdoses. However, associations between alcohol use and the use of a range of other substances are often not assessed. Therefore, this study sought to examine associations between drinking patterns (e.g., binge drinking) and other substance use in the U.S., the concurrent use of alcohol and prescription drug misuse, and how other substance use varies by binge drinking frequency.


      Past 30-day alcohol and other substance use data from the 2016–2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health were analyzed among 169,486 U.S. respondents aged ≥12 years, analyzed in 2020.


      The prevalence of other substance use ranged from 6.0% (non-drinkers) to 24.1% (binge drinkers). Among people who used substances, 22.2% of binge drinkers reported using substances in two additional substance categories. Binge drinking was associated with 4.2 (95% CI: 3.9, 4.4) greater adjusted odds of other substance use compared with non-drinking. Binge drinkers were twice as likely to report concurrent prescription drug misuse while drinking than non-binge drinkers. The prevalence of substance use increased with binge drinking frequency.


      Binge drinking was associated with other substance use and concurrent prescription drug misuse while drinking. These findings can guide the implementation of a comprehensive approach to prevent binge drinking, substance misuse, and overdoses. This might include population-level strategies recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force to prevent binge drinking (e.g., increasing alcohol taxes, regulating alcohol outlet density).

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