How common is drinking over the “moderate level” among your friends/family, and has this become a cultural norm?

Considering all the social and physical costs associated with its use, why is alcohol so often perceived as acceptable and safe for social use & why do so many people often forget about alcohol’s many known harmful consequences?  What, specifically, do you think has kept alcohol so popular through all these years?  What have your own experiences with alcohol been like?  Were any of you surprised to learn that “moderate drinking” comprised of only one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men?  How common is drinking over the “moderate level” among your friends/family, and has this become a cultural norm?  Beyond just the legal drinking age, why do you think America in particular has such an issue with binge-drinking?

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