It’s not just college students…

Many people think of binge drinking as a “kid’s” problem, as something young people grow out of as they mature, get a job, and start a family. A recent case study of New Mexico, completed using national survey data, indicates that substantial proportion of the adult population drinks excessively. 16.5% of New Mexicans over 18 binge drink regularly, while only 1.8% of that same population can be classified as alcohol dependent. Binge drinking is a national, population-wide public health problem, and by pigeon-holing it as a plague of college campuses we risk over simplifying the problem.

Interestingly, the authors point to lopsided expenditures between treatment for alcoholism and prevention of excessive drinking–nationally, about $4 billion is spent on treatment, while only about $1 billion is spent on prevention efforts. The authors hope that their findings, as well as those nationally, will equalize the monies being spent on treatment and prevention and help send the message that binge drinking among adults is a serious public health concern.

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