This article describes epidemiological evidence on the association between alcohol use and diabetes, and the implications for clinical management and public health policies in the Americas. Heavy alcohol use is a risk factor for both diabetes and poor treatment adherence, despite evidence that moderate drinking can protect against type 2 diabetes under some circumstances. The burden of disease from diabetes associated with excessive alcohol consumption warrants both clinical and public health measures. On the clinical level, research on early interventions to prevent hazardous drinking shows that new screening, brief intervention, and referral techniques are effective ways to manage hazardous drinking in primary care settings. On the population level, restrictions on alcohol marketing and other alcohol control policies reduce the frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption in at-risk populations. These policy actions are recommended within the context of the World Health Organization's global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.