Binge drinking causes many problems in the United States.
I was a binge drinker, especially later in my life. (4 or more drinks for women in 2 hours)
Below, I have copied the CDC fact sheet on binge drinking, and at the end you will find a map showing the deaths from alcohol by state.
Binge drinking is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours.1
Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent.
According to national surveys
- One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge.2
- While binge drinking is more common among young adults aged 18–34 years, binge drinkers aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more often—an average of five to six times a month.2
- Binge drinking is more common among those with household incomes of $75,000 or more than among those with lower incomes.2
- Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.3
- Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older.4
- The prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice the prevalence among women.2
- Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.4
- About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5
- More than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5
Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including—
- Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
- Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
- Alcohol poisoning
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unintended pregnancy
- Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
- High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases
- Liver disease
- Neurological damage
- Sexual dysfunction, and
- Poor control of diabetes.
Binge drinking costs everyone.
- Drinking too much, including binge drinking, cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006, or $1.90 a drink, from losses in productivity, health care, crime, and other expenses.6
- Binge drinking cost federal, state, and local governments about 62 cents per drink in 2006, while federal and state income from taxes on alcohol totaled only about 12 cents per drink.6
Evidence-based interventions to prevent binge drinking and related harms7-11 include
- Increasing alcoholic beverage costs and excise taxes.
- Limiting the number of retail alcohol outlets that sell alcoholic beverages in a given area.
- Holding alcohol retailers responsible for the harms caused by their underage or intoxicated patrons (dram shop liability).
- Restricting access to alcohol by maintaining limits on the days and hours of alcohol retail sales.
- Consistent enforcement of laws against underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving.
- Maintaining government controls on alcohol sales (avoiding privatization).
- Screening and counseling for alcohol misuse.
Here is a map that shows where binge drinking is the deadliest in the US. (From the Washington Post.)
My state is trying to get greater alcohol sales by adding Sunday sales and alcohol in grocery stores.