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Today, modern epidemiological studies have amassed an extensive catalog of the adverse health and social harms caused by alcohol misuse, which is now universally recognized as a leading cause of morbidity and mortality.  About 18 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, and alcohol-related problems cost U.S. society an estimated $185 billion annually.
There is substantial regional variation in the patterns of alcohol consumption in the U.S.  Lowest apparent per capita consumption is found in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
 
Lakins, N et al., (2005) Surveillance Report #73: Apparent Per Capita Alcohol Consumption: National, State, and Regional Trends, 19772003.  Available on the NIAAA Web site at http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/surveillance73/CONS03.htm