A majority of drinkers drink in moderation. But the ones who drink in immoderation account for a disproportionate share of all imbibing. As of the first quarter of 2008, 21 percent of adults had downed five or more drinks in a single day on at least one occasion in the previous year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of data from a sample of households.
Living up to stereotype, 45 percent of 18-24-year-old men had overindulged in this fashion. So had a strikingly high proportion of the women that age (27 percent). Women do taper off more quickly than men: Among 25-44-year-olds, the five-drinks-or-more cohort had fallen (or stumbled) to 18 percent of women, vs. 38 percent of men. By age 45-64, the figure was 22 percent for the men and 8 percent for the women.