More than one of every three Hoosiers who drink alcohol admits to bingeing, study finds

by Marc Ransford

More than a third of the adult population in Indiana who consume alcohol admit to regular binge drinking, a habit that may cause severe neurological and physiological damage, says a new report from Ball State University.

"The Burden of Alcohol Use in Indiana," a report by the Global Health Institute (GHI) at Ball State, found that in 2011 51.6 percent of adults classify themselves as regular drinkers with 34.7 percent bingeing and 11.8 percent drinking heavily. Data for the study was provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Binge drinking is defined as males having five or more drinks on one occasion and females having four or more drinks on one occasion. Heavy drinking is defined as men having more than two drinks per day and women having more than one drink per day.

"Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of , neurological impairments and social problems," said Kerry Anne McGeary, GHI director and Phyllis A. Miller professor of health economics. "Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions such as unintentional injuries, violence, , and ."

Indiana has the 32nd highest percentage of binge drinkers and the 39th highest percentage of heavy drinkers among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The study also found:

  • 22-25 are more likely to binge drink (38 percent) and to drink heavily (13.7 percent).
  • More males report being either heavy or binge drinkers compared to females.
  • The percentage of adults in Indiana who report being either binge or heavy drinkers decreases as age increases.
Drinking too much, including , cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006, or $1.90 a drink, from losses in productivity, health care, crime and other expenses, the report said.

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