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Oklahomans don't binge drink as often, but when they do, they drink a lot

by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: November 22, 2013
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The good news is, compared to the rest of the nation, Oklahoma has a low prevalence of people who binge drink.

The bad news, though — among the residents who binge drink, they end up drinking a lot, especially when compared to people who binge drink in other parts of the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report that shows the impact of binge drinking in America:

During 2001–2005, excessive alcohol use accounted for an estimated average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) in the United States each year, and an estimated $223.5 billion in economic costs in 2006. Binge drinking, defined as consuming four or more alcoholic drinks on one or more occasions for women and five or more drinks on one or more occasions for men, was responsible for more than half of these deaths, two-thirds of the YPLL (2), and three quarters of the economic costs.

Binge drinking was defined as “consuming four or more alcoholic drinks on one or more occasions for women and five or more drinks on one or more occasions for men.”

About 17 percent of Oklahomans who were surveyed said they had at least one binge drinking episode during the past 30 days, according to the CDC report. The nationwide average was 18.4 percent.

However, although Oklahomans reported a lower prevalence of binge drinking, residents consumed a large number of drinks when they binged on alcohol. In Oklahoma, the average largest number of drinks consumed by binge drinkers was seven drinks.

Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia and Utah saw similar results — a low prevalence of binge drinking, but a high number of drinks consumed by residents who do binge.

If you know someone who might have a drinking problem, you can find resources for them by using this substance abuse treatment locator.


by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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