Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wisconsin dominates drunkest-cities' rankings. At what cost?

Nothing to boast about
Seven Wisconsin cities are within the top ten of a list of the drunkest cities in America. Ten Wisconsin cities are on the top 20 list.
24/7 Wall St.’s Drunkest Cities in America list puts Green Bay at the top, followed by Eau Claire at No. 2, Appleton at No. 3, Madison at No. 4, Oshkosh at No. 6, Wausau at No. 9, La Crosse at No. 10, Fond du Lac at No. 12, Sheboygan at No. 15 and Milwaukee at No. 20.
It does help explain why Wisconsin is the only state to treat a first OWI arrest as a ticket, but you have to wonder if the lost productivity and related health, social and community consequences from heavy drinking acknowledged by the State of Wisconsin in a November, 2016 report - - 

Alcohol Use Remains High
The per capita alcohol consumption rate in Wisconsin is 1.3 times higher than the national rate. The alcohol consumption rate for adults is 10 percentage points above the national rate (63% vs. 53%). Heavy drinking among adults is more common in Wisconsin than the nation as a whole. Wisconsin’s rate of adult binge drinking (22%) is third highest across all states and U.S. territories. Wisconsin women of childbearing age consume alcohol at levels higher than their national peers.
Consequences of Alcohol Consumption Outpace National Rates
Given Wisconsin’s alcohol consumption patterns, it is not surprising that the rates at which Wisconsin experiences the consequences associated with alcohol use have also tended to be higher than national rates. Since 2008, rates of alcohol abuse and dependence have been higher in Wisconsin than the nation as a whole. Wisconsin's rate of death from alcohol-related liver cirrhosis has risen since 2008 as has the rate of alcohol-related deaths from causes other than liver cirrhosis. The latest available data show that Wisconsin has 1.2 times the national rate of arrests for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and almost three times the national rate of arrests for liquor law violations.
- - are in any way connected to the state's persistent economic stagnation and well-documented entrepreneurial failure.

Note also that the State Department of Health Services produced an undated draft report on these matters labeled "not for distribution" but which is posted on the Internet, minced no words and cited 2015 data said state's abusive drinking had been connected in 2010 to more than 5,200 deaths and injuries and more than 67,000 arrests.

According to America’s 2015 Health Rankings, Wisconsin ranks 49th for Binge Drinking and 45th for Chronic Drinking. Wisconsin ranks 23rd for drug deaths... 
Wisconsin continues to rank among the worst in the nation for both heavy drinking and binge drinking among adults. Approximately one in four (24.3%) Wisconsin adults engaged in binge drinking in the previous month, compared to the national median of 18.3%; and 9.8% of Wisconsin adults engaged in heavy drinking, compared to the national median of 6.6% (data not shown).
In 2013, the total bill for the state's binge drinking was reported at $6.8 billion every year. That's a substantial penalty, and its implications demand more policy attention.

I've posted items on this theme over the years - - a sample, here - - and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk did her best some years ago to focus the public's awareness, but few others followed her lead.

1 comment:

Sue said...

In 2015 Wisconsin legislators (Democrat & Republican) took the opportunity to drink 'on the job' when they had their affectionately named 'beer summit'. Then they went and passed the budget, an episode that included an almost-certainly drunk Republican slurring through his comments.
News outlets treated the 'beer summit' as something cute and pretty much ignored the obviously inebriated legislator. Not much interest, certainly no mainstream outrage.
The culture runs deep.