Binge Drinking is Bringing Down Illinois' Overall Health


The United Health Foundation released it's annual ranking of America's healthiest states today. This year, Illinois was ranked 30th for overall health. But even more telling, the state was ranked the 44th worst in the nation for binge drinking. Could this be because of a hazy understanding of what binge drinking really is? According to the manager of Lock, Stock, & Barrel in Decatur, binge drinking is "three drinks or 4 drinks per sitting."

But, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines it as "4 or 5 drinks in a 2 hour period."

So what does the average consumer consider binge drinking? Health expert, Bruce Angleman, says most believe it is "drinking as much as you can, as fast as you can, to get as drunk as you can."

Brandon Curran, the manager of Lock, Stock, & Barrel says it's a matter of self control.

"People are just having too much fun and not paying attention to what's going on," said Curran.

Angleman says over indulging is simply a different name for a deeper issue.

"Binge drinking is sometimes seen by people who engage in it as a behavior that is not alcoholism or alcoholic drinking. When you look at the consequences of binge drinking, they're every bit as great or even greater than a person who drinks daily over a period of years."

The reason alcohol consumption is such an important factor in health rankings is because long term abuse can lead to heart disease, liver disease, dementia, and even cancer. There are more than eighty thousand alcohol-related deaths in the United States every year. Binge drinking is responsible for more than half of them.

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