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Wisconsin Second In US For Binge Drinking Rate, Study Finds

'The Burden Of Binge Drinking' Points To Economic, Health And Social Consequences Of A High Binge Drinking Rate

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L.G. Patterson/AP Photo

A new study finds Wisconsin ranks second in the United States in binge drinking.

The report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Population Health Institute looks at both federal and state health data.

According to the data, 24 percent of Wisconsin adults engage in binge drinking, compared to 16 percent nationally.

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Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks on one occasion for men, and four or more for women.

The study said adults who engaged in binge drinking did so 4.1 times a month, drinking “an average of 7.4 maximum number of drinks on any one occasion.”

Sarah Linnan, an associate researcher at the institute and one of the study’s three authors, said the high rate of binge drinking comes with health and social consequences, including “premature mortality, arrests, hospitalizations (and) alcohol-related crashes. All of these things paint the picture of excessive alcohol drinking and particularly binge drinking in the state.”

The study puts the total cost of binge drinking in Wisconsin at $3.9 billion, primarily in lost productivity.

“There are also costs associated with health care, (and) criminal justice,” Linnan said .”Then there’s an ‘other’ category that captures things like motor vehicle crashes, fire losses, fetal alcohol syndrome and things like that.”

The study said the government bears $1.6 billion of the total costs related to binge drinking, with the cost per resident running an average of $666 each year.

The story has been updated with additional information on the study.

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