Binge Drinking – transcript

[Narrator] Today, more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S. occurs
during a pattern of behavior known as binge drinking – a risky behavior that can lead to
illness . . . injury . . . and even death.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as
consumption that raises blood alcohol content to .08 percent . . . the cut-off point for
driving while impaired in all 50 states.
[Dr. Brewer] Binge drinking is an extremely dangerous pattern of alcohol consumption,
which is defined as four or more drinks per occasion for a woman, five or more drinks
per occasion for a man.
[Dr. Jernigan] …and we estimate that there are approximately 1.5 billion episodes of
binge drinking in the U.S. each year.
[Narrator] Binge drinking literally fuels dangerous behavior. Binge drinkers are 14 times
more likely to report driving drunk than non-binge drinkers.
[Dr. Jernigan] Eighty eight percent of impaired driving events are caused by binge
[Dr. Brewer] Binge drinking is associated with over half of the 79 thousand alcoholattributable
deaths that we estimate occur in the United States each year.
[Narrator] Though many doctors consider binge drinking to be a dangerous health
behavior, many Americans think that binge drinking is socially-acceptable.
[Dr. Jernigan] Alcohol’s the most widely available drug and intoxicant in our society.
[Narrator] This dangerous pattern of over-consumption contributes to illness, injury and
death through car crashes, violence, HIV/AIDS, and more.
[Dr. Brewer] Binge drinking is also associated with a wide range of health and social
problems, including unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, interpersonal
violence, and the list goes on and on.
[Narrator] The truth is that most binge drinkers are adults who drink too much on
[Dr. Brewer] We estimate that about 70 percent of the 1.5 billion episodes of binge
drinking that occur in the United States each year involve people that are 26 years and
[Dr. Jernigan] The majority of, problems, of alcohol problems are caused by people who
think they’re not problem drinkers.
[Dr. Brewer] There’s good scientific evidence that over eighty percent of binge drinkers
are not alcohol-dependent or alcoholics.
[Narrator] Unlike other high-risk health behaviors, the risk of binge drinking goes up
with socio-economic status.
[Dr. Jernigan] In fact, binge drinkers most commonly make more than fifty thousand
dollars a year. Binge drinking is a problem for individuals, but it’s a problem that is
engendered by community environments that are supportive of this behavior.
[Dr. Brewer] We need to implement effective community-based strategies to prevent
binge drinking.
[Dr. Jernigan] The single most effective thing we could do to reduce binge drinking
would be to increase alcohol taxes.
[Dr. Brewer] So too is reducing the number of places where people can purchase alcohol
in the community.
[Dr. Jernigan] Reducing days and hours of sales is another important strategy.
[Narrator] Communities need to create an environment that discourages underage and
binge drinking.
[Dr. Brewer] We need to maintain and also enforce the age 21 minimum legal drinking
[Narrator] Armed with these strategies, communities can begin to fight back against the
proliferation of alcohol outlets, advertising, and drink specials.
[Dr. Brewer] We need to de-normalize binge drinking as a pattern of alcohol
[Dr. Jernigan] It is far too risky and harmful a pattern of drinking.
[Narrator] Binge drinking. It’s a clear health threat for the drinker…and for society. Be
responsible to your family, your community and yourself. Don’t binge drink.

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