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What is a Safe Level of Drinking?

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Updated February 14, 2014

Question: What is a Safe Level of Drinking?
Answer: Most adults can drink moderate amounts of alcohol -- up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people -- and avoid alcohol-related problems. (One drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.)

However, certain people should not drink at all. They include women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant; people who plan to drive or engage in other activities requiring alertness and skill; people taking certain medications, including certain over-the-counter medicines; people with medical conditions that can be worsened by drinking; recovering alcoholics; and people under the age of 21. (See also Alcohol Alert No. 16: Moderate Drinking; Alcohol Alert No. 13: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; and Alcohol Alert No. 27: Alcohol-Medication Interactions.)

Back to: Alcoholism FAQ

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