Our View: Wisconsin is again number 1We’re number one! We’re number one! Unfortunately we’re not talking about the Wisconsin Badgers football team or the Green Bay Packers. The sad truth is this: Of all 50 states, Wisconsin is number one in binge drinking.
By: Editorial staff, Hudson Star-Observer
We’re number one! We’re number one!
Unfortunately we’re not talking about the Wisconsin Badgers football team or the Green Bay Packers. The sad truth is this: Of all 50 states, Wisconsin is number one in binge drinking.
Not only does the Badger state boast the largest number of average drinks per binge occasion (nine), but the state also leads the nation with 26 percent of the population engaged in binging!
Overall, about one in six U.S. adults surveyed said they had binged on alcohol at least once in the previous month, though it was more than one in four for those ages 18 to 34. Many officials believe those numbers are all underestimated.
According to reports, alcohol sales figures suggest people are buying a lot more alcohol than they say they are consuming.
Binge drinking is generally defined as four drinks for women and five for men in a period of a few hours. Binge drinkers ages 18 to 24 reported nine drinks, or one more than the national average of eight drinks.
New estimates (2010 study) by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 38 million adults in the United States binge drink about four times per month. (That’s where the one in six adults number comes from). But, in Wisconsin, estimates show one in four Wisconsin adults — nearly 26 percent — binge drink.
So, what are the consequences?
It contributes to drunken driving and domestic violence, plus long-term health care problems that cost all of us money. CDC officials estimate that binge drinking in the United States cost $223.5 billion in 2006.
It is also possible that a round of binge drinking could lead to acute alcohol poisoning. But how many drinks at one sitting could kill you depends on many factors, including how big you are, what you consumed and how quickly you did it. Is it worth the risk?
The upper Midwest continues to report the highest incidents of binge drinking. Wisconsin topped the list, while West Virginia, at just under 11 percent, was the lowest in the nation. Minnesota was also on the high end of the problem with 20.1 percent of adults involved in binge drinking. On average, Minnesota residents had more than 7.4 drinks at a time.
We’re not sure where to begin to try and address this issue — it seems to have gotten out of hand. With one in four Wisconsin adults participating, it makes it difficult. Unfortunately some of the leaders and teachers of young people are participating and setting a horrible example!
Wisconsin has tightened a few drunk driving laws, but there is still plenty of room for improvement as we regularly see that people are out driving the street despite having multiple OWI convictions. One other factoid contributing to the problem — Wisconsin hasn’t had the fortitude to increase the alcohol tax since 1969. Talk about a strangle-hold!
At some point, rational people have to make an informed decision and come to an obvious conclusion — these numbers are unacceptable!