Primary Prevention Alcohol

NOTE: This page is for the primary prevention of alcohol misuse and abuse. If you are seeking treatment for current alcohol misuse or abuse please visit  Substance Abuse Treatment.

Moderate DrinkingModerate Drinking.  If alcohol is consumed it should be in moderation. Moderate drinking means up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men; on a weekly basis this equates to up to 7 drinks per week for women and 14 drinks per week for men. There is no recommendation for people who do not currently drink to begin drinking. Excessive DrinkingExcessive drinking (also referred to as heavy drinking) refers to high-risk patterns of drinking which may adversely affect an individual’s health. This include the consumption of 4 or more drinks on any day, or more than 8 drinks per week for women or more than 15 drinks per week for men. Although approximately 60% of Montanan adults report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, 92% of Montanan adults do not meet the criteria for heavy drinking.

For some people alcohol consumption is especially harmful. People who should not drink any alcohol at all include: pregnant women, anyone under the age of 21, people with certain medical conditions or are taking medications which can react with alcohol, people recovering from an alcohol use disorder, people engaging activities where it would be dangerous to be under the influence of alcohol. People who are breastfeeding should consult their health care provider before consuming alcohol. Underage drinking has become uncommon in Montana; in 2019 approximately 77% of high school students reported not drinking any alcohol in the past 30 days. Alcohol impaired driving has also declined: approximately 96% of adults and 93% of high school students do not drive after drinking alcohol.

Binge drinking is defined as any alcohol consumption which brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women or 5 drinks for men in about 2 hours, although it can occur with less alcohol in certain cases. Binge drinking is not a common activity. In Montana, approximately 80% of adults and 83% of high school students avoid binge drinking.