Newsroom > DHHS News Release

April 11, 2011

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Rethinking Drinking

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at:

Lincoln - Many people enjoy a drink now and then when socializing with friends, but may not know how much alcohol is too much. ’Too much’ could mean drinking too much at one time, drinking too often, or both, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

“It’s important to be aware of how much you’re drinking, whether your drinking pattern is risky, the harm that some drinking patterns can cause, and ways to reduce your risks,” said Scot Adams, Ph.D., director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “If you're considering changing your drinking, you'll need to decide whether to cut down or whether it’s best to quit.”

For healthy adults in general, drinking more than these single-day or weekly limits is considered "at-risk" or "heavy" drinking:

  • Men: More than 4 drinks on any day or 14 per week
  • Women: More than 3 drinks on any day or 7 per week

About one in four people who exceed these limits already has alcoholism or alcohol abuse, and the rest are at greater risk for developing these and other problems, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“The Rethinking Drinking website is an easy way to take a look at your drinking pattern, get tools to make a change, and reduce your chances of having alcohol-related problems,” Adams said. Go to to get started.

Small changes can make a big difference in reducing your chances of having alcohol-related problems:

  • Count and measure. Know standard drink sizes so you can keep track accurately.
  • Set goals. Decide how many days a week you want to drink and how many drinks you’ll have on those days. It’s a good idea to have some days when you don’t drink.
  • Pace your drinking. Have no more than one drink with alcohol per hour and sip slowly. Make every other drink a non-alcoholic one like water or soda.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat so the alcohol is absorbed into your system more slowly.

Go to the Network of Care website to find alcohol treatment services in your community.