When people do not consume alcohol. Such is the case with the majority of people in the world.



A physical or psychological dependence on alcohol.

Alcohol Dependence

A cluster of behavioral, cognitive and physiological factors that typically includes a strong desire to drink and difficulty or impairment in controlling its use. Someone who is alcohol-dependent may persist in drinking despite harmful consequences and often prioritizes alcohol over other obligations and activities.

Alcohol Industry

Companies that produce alcohol, including those that manufacture, brand and market alcohol products. Much of the business is consolidated in the hands of nine large corporations.

Alcohol Policy

A combination of local, national and international laws that regulate the role alcohol plays in society—including its manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption—and formulate responses to alcohol-related problems.

Binge Drinking

High consumption on a single occasion defined, for example, as: four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. Ninety percent of alcohol consumption by those under 21 is in the form of excessive or "binge" drinking. Also referred to as heavy episodic drinking.


Blood Alcohol Level/ Blood Alcohol Content (BAL/BAC)

The concentration of alcohol in the blood. WHO recommends that drink-driving laws be based on a blood alcohol content of no more than 0.05 grams per deciliter.



A cancer-causing substance.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

An organization’s responsibility for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment. CSR is typically intended to be the social conscience of a company, but it can also serve as a form of marketing.


Drink Driving or Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

The consumption of even a small amount of alcohol prior to or during operation of a motor vehicle. The term "drunk driving" is quite subjective and helps foster the myth that individuals with impaired judgment are competent to drive a motor vehicle.  Research has found that alcohol has a "double danger" in that it impairs judgment at the same that it reduces performance.


Drink Size / Standard Measure / Unit

Alcoholic drinks are measured in units that correspond to the amount of ethanol in a drink. Though countries define the size of a standard drink differently, the range is typically between 8 and 20 grams of alcohol.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders (FASDs)

A group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems as well as problems with behavior and learning.


Harmful Use of Alcohol

This phrase is used by WHO to refer to alcohol use that causes detrimental health and social consequences. May refer to physical, mental or adverse social consequences.


High-Risk Populations

Those especially vulnerable to harmful alcohol use and marketing, such as women, youth and people with low socioeconomic status or alcohol dependency.


High-Risk Settings

Situations in which using alcohol is more likely to result in harm, such as when driving, using heavy machinery or being pregnant.



A state of functional impairment caused by alcohol.


Moderate Drinking

Defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Varies considerably by country.


Sustainable Development Goals

A collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations to end poverty and increase human health and prosperity.  More information is available here


unrecorded Alcohol

Alcohol that is produced or distributed via informal markets. It may be referred to as “home brew,” “illicit alcohol” or other names.