"We are really capturing maybe 30 percent of consumption based on alcohol sales. So this is a big problem we are underestimating," he added.
Most binge drinkers have incomes of $75,000 or more, but those whose incomes are below $25,000 drink the most (8.5 drinks each time) and most often (five times a month), the researchers said.
Binge drinking also varies by state, ranging from 10.9 percent in 17 states, including California, Florida and New Jersey, to 25.6 percent in 13 states, including Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the report found.
"In some states where fewer people binge drink -- like Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina and Utah -- binge drinkers report consuming more drinks when they do binge," Bauer said.
The report also found that most drunk drivers are binge drinkers.
Of all the alcohol consumed by adults, more than 50 percent is consumed while binge drinking; among teens that rises to 90 percent, the report said.
Commenting on the report Dr. J.C. Garbutt, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that "alcohol is very much a part of the U.S. culture, but it also causes considerable death and illness."
Eight drinks will produce intoxication and greatly increase the risk for accidents and can contribute to behavioral problems such as loss of emotional control and depression, he said.
"It is important that individuals know that excessive drinking can have both immediate and long-term negative consequences and it is in their interest to moderate their alcohol use," Garbutt said.
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