Aims: To understand the drinking frequency, mean yearly volume of consumption and drinking-related problems in individuals living in six areas in China.
Design and measurements: By two-stage sampling, 23,513 community household residents (15-65 years old) were assessed with data collected by trained psychiatrists using structured questionnaires and DSM-III-R criteria.
Findings: The male, female and total drinking rates were 84.1%, 29.3% and 59.5%, respectively. More than half of male drinkers and 90.0% of female drinkers used alcohol once a week or less. More than 16.1% of male drinkers and 2.5% of female drinkers drank once a day or more. The males reported a greater amount of alcohol consumed per session. The mean yearly volume of consumption of pure alcohol per year for all sample was 3.60 l; males consumed 18.6 times more alcohol than females. The rate of alcohol-related problems was higher in males than females. The male, female and total alcohol dependence point prevalence rates were 6.632%, 0.104% and 3.428%, respectively. Six-month incidence rates of acute intoxication were 5.162% 0.017% and 2.637%, respectively.
Conclusion: Drinking problems in China will continue to be a public health problem in the next century.