When we hear the term “binge drinking” most people will generally associate the idea with frequently drinking a lot of alcohol. How much is frequently and how much is a lot? One or two beers a day? A glass of wine every night? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as the pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. To reach that level, males generally consume up to five drinks and females have up to four drinks in one sitting.
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking is the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. An article written by Erin Schumaker stated that a study by the American Journal of Public Health examined that binge drinking rates have increased in a high percentage. Between 2002 and 2012, the drinking rate for women has rose almost 36% while the rate for men has rose 23%. The rate of binge drinking is continuing to rise, and people need to be educated about the risks and health problems they could face while binge drinking. Below is a bulleted list of statistics and facts relating to binge drinking that are gathered and shared by the CDC, and more can be seen on their website.
How common is binge drinking?
- One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge
- Alcohol causes 88,000 deaths each year
- Binge drinking is more common among young adults aged 18–34 years
- People aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more frequently—an average of five to six times a month
- 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older
- The prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice the prevalence among women
- Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers
- About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks
- More than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks
Binge drinking can trigger health-related problems.
- Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
- Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
- Alcohol poisoning
- Liver Disease
- Unplanned pregnancy
The practice of binge drinking is also very costly to everyone.
- Excessive 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.
Below lists a few of the efforts the government is trying to help prevent and stop binge drinking.
- 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
Binge drinking is a dangerous activity and more people continue to engage in this form of drinking. It’s important to educate people about binge drinking and the consequences they could face. For more information, check out the links below to see more facts, and articles and learn more about binge drinking and the risks that are associated with it. Remember, you can still have fun without the consummation of alcohol.
Center of Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
Shumaker, Erin. “Americans Are Binge Drinking, More, Especially Women”. May 27, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/24/women-binge-drinking_n_7139024.html