Benefits of Drinking Outweigh Harm from Abuse: Live Longer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) conduct research. They show that the benefits of drinking outweigh harm from abusive drinking.

benefits of drinking outweigh

The NIAAA calculates that if all drinkers in the U.S. became abstainers, there would be an additional 80,000 deaths per year. People who don’t drink greatly increase the risks of heart attack, stroke, and many other diseases.1

benefits of drinking outweigh

The CDC calculates that abusive drinking lead to about 75,766 deaths from all causes. It’s a number that continues to decline. So these studies show that moderate drinking saves more lives than are lost to alcohol abuse.2

Other Countries

This is true in other countries as well. For example, moderate drinking saves more lives in England and Wales than are lost through the abuse of alcohol. That’s what scientists at the University of London found.

The researchers found that if everyone abstained from alcohol, death rates would be much higher. The lead author said that “alcohol saves more lives than it costs.”

Other researchers, led by Dr. Ian White, found that, in the UK, the use of alcohol prevented 15,080 deaths. And that abuse caused 13,216 deaths. Thus, the use of alcohol led to a net gain of 1,864 lives.

Researchers at the Cancer Council of New South Wales analyzed data there. They concluded the following. “If the net effect of total alcohol consumption on Australian society is considered, there is a net saving of lives due to the protective effect of low levels of consumption on cardiovascular disease.”

Benefits of Drinking Outweigh Harm from Abuse



  1. Gunzerath, L., et al. NIAAA Report on Moderate Drinking, Alco Clin Exper Res, 28(6), 829-84.
  2. Lynch, K., et al. Alcohol-attributable deaths and years of potential life lost. CDC’s MMWR, 53(37).