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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Alcohol consumption by Americans has been on the rise for two decades and is now greater than when Prohibition was enacted in the late 1910s, federal data shows.

The average amount of alcohol downed by adults and teens before Prohibition was just under 2 gallons a year and it is now about 2.3 gallons. That works out to nearly 500 drinks, or about nine a week, the Associated Press reported.

The heaviest drinking in the United States was in the early 1800s, and it’s estimated that average consumption by an adult in 1830 was 7 gallons a year.

The new data also show increases in alcohol-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths, the AP reported.

“Consumption has been going up. Harms [from alcohol] have been going up,” Dr. Tim Naimi, an alcohol researcher at Boston University, told the AP. “And there’s not been a policy response to match it.”

One bit of good news is that drinking among teens has declined.

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