Excessive Alcohol Use | Heavy Drinking
Why It Matters
Heavy drinking costs society economically and socially. The health impacts on heavy drinkers themselves are well documented. Heavy drinking impacts nearly every tissue in our body. Ten health risks of chronic heavy drinking include liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer, ulcers and gastrointestinal problems, immune system dysfunction, brain damage, malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis, heart disease, accidents, and injuries.
In addition to its health risks to the drinkers themselves, heavy drinking also has secondary risks to other people. Secondary effects include injury, property damage, violence, and death; and frequently require the involvement of law enforcement as well as the criminal justice system. Heavy drinkers may also find their work performance impacted by their consumption of alcohol, have lower wages and lost employment opportunities, experience increased medical expenses, and have problems dealing with family issues.
Reducing Heavy Drinking in Wisconsin
What is heavy drinking?
According to the CDC, for men, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming 15 drinks or more per week.
For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming eight (8) drinks or more per week.
What can we do about it?
- Increase alcohol taxes
- Increase the minimum price of alcohol
- Regulate alcohol outlet density
- Conduct Place of Last Drink data collections and analysis to determine which businesses overpour alcohol or serve intoxicated customers
- Electronic screening and brief interventions
- Enforce laws prohibiting sales to minors
Resources for the Prevention of Heavy Drinking
10 areas governments could work with to reduce the harmful use of alcohol (WHO)
World Health Organization recommendations.
Addressing Alcohol-Related Harms: A Population Level Response
American Public Health Association comprehensive statement on reducing heavy drinking.