Monday, August 19, 2019

Alcohol-related deaths a factor in WI life-expentancy decline

[Updated] While opioids in this Journal Sentinel study-based piece about falling life expectancies will catch the reader's eye - - 
Life expectancy for Wisconsin babies falls as opioid, alcohol and suicide take the young
- - don't miss this reference to a more familiar foe:
"I would say that the rate of alcohol-related deaths was one that stood out to me," says [study author Mark] Sommerhauser. "Wisconsin's rate (had been) almost exactly what the national rate was. Our rate has increased quite a bit more quickly."
The study was published by the non-profit, non-partisan Public Policy Forum.

Here's data from another non-profit, non-partisan source - - the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and note these tracking data do not cover automobile crashes, sexual assaults, violent crimes and other known  consequences of abusive drinking: 

Alcohol also increases risk(link is external) of mouth, liver, throat, colorectal, voice box, female breast, and esophagus cancers; data on these cancers are also hosted on the Tracking data portal(link is external)(link is external).
I have written often over the 12-year-+ span of this blog about alcohol abuse in Wisconsin


and the state's bi-partisan refusal to take the costs and data seriously, let alone translating them into effective legislation and programs. 

Maybe this new story and study will provoke some significant awareness, though I remain pessimistic.

Some examples of past posts, and data, below. 

* 2008:

Kathleen Falk, guest post: Confronting Wisconsin's Drinking Abuses


Wisconsin, Assembly, Under the Wrong Influences, passes weak OWI package

* 2009 

Wisconsin's Drinking Culture Needs Profound Attention

Wisconsin needs bipartisan push for stronger OWI laws

* 2013

Wisconsin's Costly Drinking Culture on Further Display


Wisconsin Officials Under Alcohol Lobbies' Influence


Wisconsin dominates most-drunken cities' list: At what cost?

* 2018

Wisconsin dominates most-drunken cities' list. Again.
I don't remember the party in power here addressing the annual alcohol-related loss of lives and nearly $7 billion.
You can add Wisconsin's persistent and widespread alcohol abuse to this compilation of negative state rankings, as Wisconsin - - as it did last year - - put ten cities on this list of the country's 20 most-drunken.
No other state came close, so call it life in the state of denial.
Green Bay named drunkest city in the US; 10 Wisconsin cities listed as top 20 drunkest
The consequences in Wisconsin lives lost, families damaged and money wasted is well-known and heavily, repeatedly documented by public officials:
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. However, since 2010, Wisconsin’s rate of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths has been similar to the national rate.
Alcohol is the most frequently consumed substance of use and misuse in Wisconsin, contributing to consequences that affect all state residents.
In 2015, alcohol was a factor in at least 2,008 deaths and 2,907 motor vehicle crash injuries in Wisconsin. In 2013, the economic burden resulting from excessive alcohol use totaled $6.8 billion dollars.
Those data were published in 2016, nearly six years after Walker and the GOP took over state government.
They reflect many of the same outcomes published in 2012 by the same officials 21 months after Walker came to power. In other words, little progress.


Katrina said...

Thanks for the article. Very depressing. As one who doesn't like the taste of alcohol, I admit I don't understand how people become addicted to it. I wish I bottle my distaste for it and give it away for free.

James Rowen said...

@Katrina. People who get addicted don't want to be addicted. Their brain responds differently than yours, and mine. Thanks for comment.