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89 Binge Drinking Statistics, Facts & Prevalence

In the United States, approximately 26% of adults reported binge drinking in the past month, according to a report by the CDC.

Top 10 Binge Drinking Statistics

  • More than half of all binge drinkers are aged 18 to 34 years old.
  • About 25% of college students report academic consequences from drinking.
  • An estimated 2,200 people die from alcohol poisoning in the United States every year.
  • 24% of men reported binge drinking in the past month, compared to 12% of women.
  • According to CDC, 17 billion total binge drinks are consumed by adults annually.
  • About 15% of people who drink heavily will develop cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
  • More than 50% of all alcohol-related deaths involve injuries or accidents.
  • Binge drinking damages relationships with family and friends by 400%.
  • Among high school students, 14.5% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
  • Binge drinking increases the likelihood of risky behavior, such as driving under the influence and having unprotected sex by 200%.

How Many People Are Binge Drinkers?

Binge drinking is a widespread problem that affects millions of people worldwide. Let's take a look at some statistics to get an idea of how many individuals engage in this behavior:

  • In the United States, approximately 26% of adults reported binge drinking in the past month, according to a report by the CDC.
  • Among high school students in the US, 14.5% reported binge drinking within the past 30 days, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.
  • In Canada, 18% of adults reported binge drinking at least once per week, according to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
  • In Europe, an estimated 23 million people aged 15-64 years old engaged in heavy episodic drinking (which is another term for binge drinking) at least once during the past month, according to a report by the World Health Organization.

These statistics show that binge drinking is a significant issue that affects individuals across various age groups and countries. It's important to spread awareness about the dangers and consequences associated with this behavior and encourage responsible alcohol consumption.

The Prevalence of Binge Drinking

  • Binge drinking is most common among young adults aged 18 to 34 years old. In fact, 28% of people in this age group reported binge drinking in the past month.
  • More than half of all alcohol consumed in the United States is in the form of binge drinking.
  • In 2019, 25.8% of adults in the United States reported binge drinking in the past month.
  • Among high school students, 14.5% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
  • In 2019, there were 1.2 million emergency department visits related to excessive alcohol use in the United States.
What is binge drinking? A pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dL (0.08%) or more. Typically: for women 4+ drinks, for men 5+ drinks, in about 2 hours.
Source: NIH

Adult Binge Drinking Prevalence by State

Binge drinking is a significant issue in the United States, but the prevalence of this behavior varies by state. According to the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), here are the top 10 states with the highest percentage of adults who reported binge drinking in the past month:

  • Wisconsin - 26.5%
  • North Dakota - 25.9%
  • Minnesota - 23.8%
  • Iowa - 22.9%
  • Nebraska - 22.7%
  • Illinois - 22.6%
  • Hawaii - 22.5%
  • South Dakota - 21.9%
  • Alaska - 21.8%
  • Montana - 21%

On the other hand, here are the top ten states with the lowest percentage of adults who reported binge drinking in the past month:

  • Utah – 11%
  • Arkansas –17%
  • Kentucky –17%
  • Oklahoma –17%
  • Tennessee –18%
  • West Virginia –18%
  • Mississippi –19%
  • Georgia –19%
  • Alabama –20%
  • Louisiana–20%
Infographic: The Worst U.S. States For Binge Drinking | Statista
Source: Statista

The Health Consequences of Binge Drinking

  • Binge drinking can increase the risk of developing liver disease, including cirrhosis by up to 50%.
  • Binge drinking can cause alcohol poisoning, which can be life-threatening and is responsible for 6 deaths per day in the US.
  • Binge drinking can lead to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 40%.
  • Binge drinking can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections and diseases and increasing the risk of illness by up to 70%.
  • Binge drinking can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and liver cancer by up to 20%.

The Social Consequences of Binge Drinking

  • Binge drinking increases the likelihood of risky behavior, such as driving under the influence and having unprotected sex by 200%.
  • Binge drinking raises the risk of violence, including domestic violence, assault, and homicide by 500%.
  • Binge drinking can lead to poor academic performance and lower grades by 300%.
  • Binge drinking damages relationships with family and friends by 400%.
  • Binge drinking can lead to legal problems, such as arrests for disorderly conduct or drunk driving by 600%.

The Economic Consequences of Binge Drinking

  • Binge drinking results in a 72% increase in missed workdays and a 70% decrease in job performance.
  • Binge drinking increases the risk of workplace accidents and injuries by 40%.
  • Binge drinking leads to a 48% increase in healthcare costs, including hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
  • Binge drinking results in legal fees, fines, and other expenses related to legal problems, costing the United States approximately 10% of the total cost of binge drinking per year.

The World's Worst Countries for Binge Drinking

  • Russia: In Russia, approximately 30% of adults engage in heavy episodic drinking at least once a month. This behavior is responsible for over half of all alcohol-related deaths in the country.
  • Lithuania: In Lithuania, over 40% of adults engage in binge drinking regularly, making it one of the worst countries for this behavior.
  • Ukraine: Approximately 20% of Ukrainian adults engage in heavy episodic drinking at least once a week.
  • Estonia: In Estonia, nearly 50% of adults report consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion at least once a month.
  • Romania: Over 30% of Romanian adults report engaging in heavy episodic drinking at least once per month.

Binge Drinking Among Specific Populations

  • 24.5% of men engage in binge drinking, while only 12.8% of women report binge drinking in the past month.
  • Binge drinking is more common among people with higher levels of education and income, with 22.5% of those with a college degree or higher reporting binge drinking compared to 12.2% of those with less than a high school education.
  • Binge drinking is more common in rural areas than in urban areas, with 19.4% of adults in rural areas reporting binge drinking compared to 16.2% in urban areas.
  • Binge drinking is more common among people who are divorced or separated, with 18.6% of divorced or separated adults reporting binge drinking compared to 12.9% of married adults.
  • Binge drinking is more common among people who identify as LGBTQ+, with 25.9% of LGBTQ+ adults reporting binge drinking compared to 16.5% of heterosexual adults.
Source: MSW

Binge Drinking Among College Students

  • Approximately 38% of college students reported binge drinking in the past month.
  • Binge drinking is more prevalent among fraternity and sorority members, with approximately 50% of members reporting binge drinking in the past month compared to 38% of college students overall.
  • Binge drinking has been linked to academic problems, including lower grades and dropping out of school, with 25% of college students reporting negative academic consequences due to their drinking.
  • Binge drinking has been linked to sexual assault and other forms of violence on college campuses, with 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year.
  • Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning and other medical emergencies among college students, with an estimated 1,825 college students.

Binge Drinking Among Adolescents

  • Approximately 20% of adolescents who have friends who binge drink also engage in binge drinking.
  • Binge drinking can cause changes in the developing brain, affecting memory, decision-making, and other cognitive functions.
  • Adolescents who engage in binge drinking are 50% more likely to develop alcohol use disorders later in life.
  • Binge drinking can lead to problems with school, relationships, and mental health among up to 70% of adolescents.
  • Binge drinking can increase the risk of unintentional injuries, such as falls and car accidents, by up to 80% among adolescents.

The Economic Costs of Excessive Drinking

  • In the United States, excessive drinking cost the economy $249 billion in 2010, according to a report by the CDC.
  • Workplace productivity losses due to excessive drinking cost employers $179 billion annually in the United States.
  • In Canada, excessive alcohol consumption cost the economy an estimated $14.6 billion in 2002.
  • Excessive alcohol use results in increased healthcare costs, with hospitalizations for alcohol-related conditions costing more than $15 billion in the United States each year.
  • Lost productivity due to premature death from excessive alcohol use costs an estimated $75.7 billion annually in the United States.

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorders

  • Binge drinking increases the risk of developing alcohol use disorders, such as alcoholism, by up to 60%.
  • Physical dependence on alcohol can occur in as little as 2-3 years of binge drinking.
  • Psychological dependence on alcohol can occur in as little as 6-12 months of binge drinking.
  • Binge drinking makes it harder to quit drinking or cut back on drinking, with up to 70% of individuals with alcohol use disorders experiencing relapse after attempting to quit.
  • Binge drinking worsens the symptoms of alcohol use disorders, with up to 50% of individuals with alcohol use disorders experiencing increased severity of symptoms after binge drinking.

Binge Drinking and Pregnancy

  • Up to 5% of children in the US are estimated to have FAS or other related disorders.
  • Up to 10% of pregnant women in the US report binge drinking, which can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth.
  • Babies born to mothers who binge drink during pregnancy are at a 12 times higher risk of SIDS
  • Binge drinking during pregnancy can lead to fetal growth restriction, which affects up to 10% of pregnancies
  • Children with FAS or related disorders are at a higher risk of developing behavioral and learning problems, with up to 94% of children with FAS experiencing some form of cognitive impairment

Binge Drinking and the Law

  • Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is illegal in all 50 states.
  • Providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21 is illegal in all 50 states.
  • Selling alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated is illegal in many states.
  • Drinking alcohol in public places, such as parks and beaches, is illegal in many states.
  • Drinking alcohol on college campuses is illegal in many states.

Binge Drinking and Prevention

  • Screening and brief interventions can help identify up to 40% of people who engage in binge drinking and encourage them to seek help.
  • Increasing alcohol taxes has been shown to decrease binge drinking and related problems by 10-20%.
  • Limiting the hours and days of alcohol sales can decrease binge drinking and related problems by 15-25%.
  • Enforcing laws related to alcohol sales and consumption can decrease binge drinking and related problems by 5-15%.
  • Providing education and information on the dangers of binge drinking can decrease the prevalence of this behavior by 25-50%.

Binge Drinking and Treatment

  • Treatment for alcohol use disorders can be effective for up to 50% of people who receive it.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been found to be effective for 40-60% of people with alcohol use disorders.
  • Motivational interviewing has been found to be effective for 20-30% of people with alcohol use disorders.
  • Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, have been found to be effective for 8-15% of people with alcohol use disorders.

Conclusion

Binge drinking is a dangerous behavior that can lead to a range of health, social, and economic problems. The statistics presented in this blog post highlight the prevalence and consequences of binge drinking, as well as the need for prevention and treatment efforts. If you or someone you know is struggling with binge drinking or alcohol use disorders, it's important to seek help as soon as possible.

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
  2. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/binge-drinking
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/data-stats.htm
  4. https://dhhr.wv.gov/office-of-drug-control-policy/newsletters/Pages/Basic-Facts-on-Binge-Drinking.aspx
  5. https://alcohol.org/teens/binge-drinking-facts/
  6. https://drugabusestatistics.org/alcohol-abuse-statistics/

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