MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New numbers show binge drinking is a bigger problem than previously thought nationwide, including the Midwest.
One in six American adults binge drinks about four times a month, and on average, the largest number of drinks they have at a time is eight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Some say that overloading on alcohol has become the norm in American society.
“I would say that I probably drink more than eight drinks if I’m going to go out for an entire evening,” said Ally Taubenheim, a 23-year-old woman.
Even after college, she still finds herself, she said, drinking at a rate that experts warn is dangerous, and she’s not the only one doing it.
“When you go out, if you can drink a lot, it’s like you’re cool or something. Everybody’s just trying to drink as much as they can,” she said.
Binge drinking has become a problem in all states. Wisconsin has the largest number of binge drinkers with 25.6 percent of adults. They also have the most drinks at once, 9.
Minnesota is also in the top tier of binge drinking states at 20.1 percent of adults. On average, they put down more than 7.4 drinks at a time.
“Definitely a Midwest thing, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” said Taubenheim.
People who are 65 and older actually binge drink the most often.
“Binge drinking is… I want to have fun typically,” said Dr. David Frenz, Medical Director for Addiction Medicine for HealthEast Care System.
Frenz counsels those who abuse alcohol after they’re injured.
“They’ll come to the hospital with a broken bone, or they crash a car and injure themselves. Something bad happens,” Frenz said. “It’s kind of like obesity, you know, everybody’s obese and so it’s hard to pick out somebody who’s clearly obese, because everybody’s obese. And so it’s the same sort of thing with drinking. It’s sort of hard to identify people who are using alcohol harmfully, because everybody’s using it harmfully.”
In fact, the CDC says binge drinking costs everyone a $1.90 every drink, or $746 per person in the United States in 2006. Costs include health care expenses, crime and lost productivity.
The CDC says drinking too much contributes to more than 54 different injuries and diseases.
While Taubenheim says drinking takes her stress away, experts worry about the stress binge drinking is putting on society will continue to grow.