Alcohol is the most widely abused legal substance in the world. According to the World Health organization (WHO), there are more than 76 million persons with alcohol use disorders worldwide and alcohol causes 1.8 million deaths annually.

Alcohol, a depressant, is a liquid obtained by fermentation of carbohydrates by yeast or by distillation.  There are many types of alcohol, but Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is the type of alcohol that is used to make alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits.  Beer contains 0.5-14% alcohol and is typically made from barley or sorghum.  Wine contains 10-14% alcohol and is made from a variety of fruits, particularly grapes.  Distilled spirits contain 20-35% alcohol and are made from a variety of sources including potatoes, corn, barley and wheat.

In the United States, moderate use of alcohol is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and one drink for women and older people.

  Learn ... about risks

For information about other addictive substances read:

The information posted on this web page originates from the Above the Influence ("ATI") website ("Site") sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy ("ONDCP"). 

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