There’s Danger in Drinking - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

There’s Danger in Drinking

A new study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered on average, six people die from alcohol poisoning or binge drinking every day.  It's a problem that continues to grow every year.

Something that surprised researchers was the age group that sees the most deaths. 

“Surprisingly, we found that three out of four of those deaths actually involved middle age adults, specifically those in the age range of 36 to 64,” Dr. Bob Brewer, the Alcohol Program Leader for the CDC in Atlanta said.

This finding countered the popular perception that young people are more likely to die from binge drinking.

The CDC defines binge drinking as having four or more drinks for women or five or more drinks for men in one setting.

“It's basically a level of alcohol consumption that brings a drinker's blood alcohol level of a 0.08,” he said.

However, everyone's tolerance is different.

Dr. Brewer explained, “There are a number of different factors that can influence the blood alcohol level that somebody achieves after drinking and in turn the blood alcohol level they need to have before they die.”

Many people think alcoholics are the one's who die from excessive drinking because they abuse it more often.  However, the CDC found different results.

“Most of the people who died from alcohol poisoning were not known to be alcoholics,” he said.

The study also found that 30-percent of the people who die from binge drinking don't have a history or alcoholism.  This just proves that it can happen to anyone.

Death from drinking excessively isn't the only thing people should be concerned about.

“Binge drinking can increase the risk of heart attacks over time,” Dr. Brewer said, “Also, strokes and one that often surprises people is cancer.”

Violence is also linked to excessive drinking.

“Alcohol poisoning is a very serious problem,” he said.

Dr. Brewer said there are a lot of other problems related to binge drinking that can develop in the short term or long term.

Something else you should know, people who binge drink are costing you money.

“Excessive drinking costs the U.S. in 2006, which is the most recent year we have this information for, you have about $224-billion,” he said.

That money comes from health care expenses, loss of productivity, criminal justice services and more.  So, we are all paying for the cost of excessive drinking.

Dr. Brewer said, “It therefore is in our collective interest to really look at what we can do to create community settings and enact policies that discourage people from drinking too much.”

Some of the driving factors include, geographic isolation and social isolation.  The CDC said, if it's less expensive people are more likely to buy it and drink more of it.  Also, if you live in an area where there are more bars, clubs, or liquor stores, you are more likely to drink alcohol excessively.

“One in ten deaths among people, working age adults 20 to 64, are due to alcohol,” Dr. Brewer said.

The CDC said the best strategy is to not push your luck and know your limit.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6
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