Quick Stats on Binge Drinking

From the Center for Disease Control (Aug, 2008):

The National Institute of 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. Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent.

* Approximately 92% of US adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days
* Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults over age 25
* The rate of binge drinking among men is 2 times the rate of 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
* About 75% of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks
* The proportion of current drinkers that binge is highest in the 18 to 20 year old groups (51%)

Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including but not limited to

* Unintentional injuries (e.g. car crash, 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.
* Poor control of diabetes.

Evidence-based interventions to prevent binge drinking and related harms include

* Increasing alcoholic beverage costs and excise taxes.
* Restricting the number of locations that sell alcoholic beverages in a given area.
* Consistent enforcement of laws against underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving.
* Campus-based strategies to reduce high risk drinking among college students.
* Physician screening, counseling and/or referral for alcohol problems.

Related: Robin Williams Reflects on RehabUSA Alcohol Consumption Declining

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