Jacob Sullum on the Federal Government's Arbitrary Definition of Excessive Drinking



Last week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted with alarm that most Americans say they have never discussed alcohol consumption with a health professional. Physicians' reluctance to broach the subject is especially troubling, the CDC said, because "at least 38 million adults in the U.S. drink too much." Most news outlets reported the latter claim as a fact, failing to notice the value judgments embedded in it, says Senior Editor Jacob Sullum. Contrary to what the CDC wants you to believe, Sullum writes, the question of what it means to drink too much is a matter of moral and medical dispute.