According to recent government surveys, 2 out of 3 high school students who drink alcohol take part in binge drinking, a form of drinking in which large amounts of alcohol are drank for a prolonged period of time resulting in inebriation. Studies further show that more than 90% of all alcohol that is consumed by children in high school is drank during a binge. Additionally, half of all alcohol consumed by adults is consumed during a course of binge drinking, an activity that one in in 3 adults takes part in regularly.
The Centers for Disease Control have defined binge drinking as an instance in which an individual has 4-5 or more drinks in a few hours at least one time during the previous 30 days. So, for a woman to drink 4 drinks at dinner 2 times a month is considered binge drinking. These definitions may actually seem kind of light and that’s because the average binge drinking actually consumes quite a bit more than that in a sitting (usually 8-10 drinks in a sitting about once a week). This is where the public health concern comes into play along with the fact that binge drinking has continued and is not widely recognized as a problem in this country…until now.
Recent studies suggest that people do not admit to their binge drinking and this poses another public health concern. The inability of people to admit to the problem has likely skewed the results of recent surveys hence the reason binge drinking has not widely been accepted as a major problem. The results may be as far off as the government survey only identifying about 22-32% of the alcohol consumption based on the states’ alcohol sales.
Publicly, binge drinking has many costly consequences. People who binge drink are likely to take part in reckless driving or driving under the influence (DUI) which can result in a danger to others on the road. Additionally, binge drinking increases the risk of the drinker assaulting an individual or taking part in risky sexual behavior which can pose a threat to both the drinker and to the individuals involved with the drinker. Finally, binge drinking can result in long term illness that result in reduced productivity at work, early retirement and even disability which becomes costly to the society as a whole.
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