The State of Drinking: A New Web Resource

Wisconsin is the nation’s #1 state when it comes to drinking, at least based on some metrics. You can explore stats for all the states and see how your state compares on the “The State of Drinking” Website, a valuable resource created by Wisconsin Gannett Media (owners of my local paper, the Post-Crescent). It also provides compelling stories about the lives of people affected by alcohol.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

13 thoughts on “The State of Drinking: A New Web Resource

  1. Wow Jeff, your home state is number one in prescription drug abuse and your current abode is number one for alcohol.

    Thanks for posting a link to that article! And I have a question for you. Being that you live in the great state of Wisconsin, do you notice the alcoholism there? What is your experience/impression of everyday life with the alcoholics?
    Places you go, like Octoberfest, restaurants, festivals, concerts, that type of thing. Any stories of wild neighbors who throw crazy parties, run in the street naked, and have the police at their house?

    How does this affect the schools? Do the teachers show up drunk in the classrooms?

  2. anonymous, “social drinker” and “alcoholic” don’t mean the same thing. Mormons love to see things in black and white – either you are a teetotaler or you are a rotten drunk. There is no room in their mindset for those who drink socially and responsibly which are the vast majority of those who use adult beverages.

  3. Mormons love to see things in black and white – either you are a teetotaler or you are a rotten drunk.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with stereotyping while we’re complaining about stereotyping, is there?


  4. Wow, Phouchg, where did you pick that up??

    Most of my friends drink and do so in a manner they feel is safe and responsible. I understand and accept that, as long as they don’t try driving or voting while impaired. I don’t think they are bad people because they enjoy a little wine or beer. They aren’t violating their religious beliefs when they do that.

    That said, I have seen the harm that alcohol does to many people, and agree with the counsel in the Word of Wisdom and the condemnation of those who promote harmful substances in this day. I can’t see any evidence that anyone’s life has been blessed by the drinking of alcohol or the smoking of tobacco, marijuana, or other substances. So lighten up and enjoy the benefits of the Word of Wisdom. It’s easy on the liver, doesn’t stain your fingers, and is calorie free!

  5. anonymous, “social drinker” and “alcoholic” don’t mean the same thing.

    Phouchg– no one said they DID mean the same thing. Anonymous wasn’t TALKING about “social drinkers”. The study indicated that Wisconsin has the worst problems with ALCOHOLHISM not “social drinkers”– it’s problems with binge and heavy drinking, alcohol related crime and accidents, alcoholism/alcohol dependence, number of people needing treatment etc is what CAUSED Wisconsin to be named the state with THE most alcohol-related problems. So that’s why anonymous was asking about the alcoholism.
    Did you just read Jeff’s post, anonymous’ response and post your own negative, judgmental stereotype of Mormons WITHOUT reading the study that Jeff was talking about??
    So far, the only one doing any “tee-totaling” around here is you.
    Jeff– I poked around the site– I admit I didn’t do it very thoroughly– but is there any indication as to WHY the numbers are so high in Wisconsin? And according to the study– it seems like ALL the states in that part of the country make up the top 5-6 states with alcohol problems.
    I’ll be very honest– I’m shocked by the info. I never would have thought of those states as having the highest numbers of bingers/heavy drinkers, etc.
    Any idea as to what the cause might be??

  6. Tracey,
    as to why Wisconsin and that area of the country.

    I've read that their Scandinavian heritage has something to do with it. Perhaps early settlers/immigrants brought that tradition with them, and it just got passed on. "Traditions of the fathers" sort of thing.

    I saw on 60 minutes that even today, Scandinavian countries have the highest alcohol consumption per capita than the rest of europe.

    Russia's alcohol consumption is pretty high too. Might be higher than Scandinavia. Huge rate of alcoholism there.

    All: The economics of drinking is such that the alcohol-related social costs of the "minority" who cause problems (car wrecks, medical bills, property damage, unemployment, broken families, welfare, deaths, higher insurance costs for everyone, absenteeism, lost wages, lost revenue, cost of police, cost of courts/jail, etc) is much greater than the alochol-related taxes generated by _all_ drinkers.

    As a whole (both responsible and not-responsible) drinkers "take out" more from society than they "put in".

    Lets just assume that 2/3rds of drinkers are "responsible" and 1/3rd are "not responsible."

    I'd like to see a study done to see if the taxes (at all levels) generated by the alcohol industry pay for the "damages" done by that 1/3rd.

    Where I used to live, a drunk man drove his van into an apartment building, causing thousands of dollars of damage. How much alcohol had to be sold to 'responsible drinkers' to generate the taxes (corporate, income tax on the distillery employees, sales tax, etc.) necessary to compensate society for the cost?

    Not that those taxes go directly to the repair cost of such damages, but just using those figures to get a "relative economic impact".

    And there are real dollars that EVERYONE pays in higher car insurance, health insurance, and life insurance, that DOES go DIRECTLY to pay for those damages of drunk drivers and people on a binge at home.

    Man (or woman) gets drunk, assaults their spouse => hospital cost, police cost, court cost.

    Woman gets drunk while pregnant => FAS baby, => well over $750,000.oo medical costs over the lifetime of that child. (And it's worse with "crack babies.") And it's insurance/Medicaid(tax) money that pays that.

    Drunk driving => fatalities, widows, ophans, ruined lives, permanent injuries, people in wheelchairs, burns, lost careers, huge property damages.

    (By the way, the drunk van driver was also an illegal immigrant. There's another possible "relative economic impact" analysis.)

    What's the solution?

    Should we "license" alcohol consumption so that only “responsible” drinkers are allowed to drink? Should there be a testing proceedure to get an alcohol-drinking license like there is a car-driving license to make sure people know how to drive before they get on the road? Should you then have to show a “drinking license” to purchase alcohol? Should we have ‘drinkers-ed’ in high school?

    How do we promote responsibility?

    I’m not saying we force responsibility, but encouraging responsibility is a good thing. That’s what Jeff is doing, just talking and _encouraging_ people to be responsible by his (and my) preferred method: don’t drink at all!

    And then the whiners and complainers show up and whine and moan about _words_. Seems a bit hypocritical. Real people are suffering out there due to real offenses, real problems, real injuries and deaths, and alcohol proponents come here and complain about someone’s words.

    [Shakes head].

  7. It’s a cultural thing. Strong northern European heritage along with a love of beer and brewing. Once established, this kind of cultural trend passes quickly from generation to generation.

    It’s amazing how different various parts of the country are when social problems are examined. The Midwest has a lot of trouble with drinking. The Western states have very high suicide rates, probably due to the gun culture out there and the abundance of easy ways to kill oneself when the temptation comes. Cultural currents are strong.

  8. And out of pure curiosity, how exactly does Alabama rank 50 in the study while Utah only 49? How is it that alcohol is least prevalent in Alabama?

  9. I would suspect that, being in the middle of the Bible Belt, Alabama’s citizens have a strong teetotalism culture. Note the large number of “dry” counties in the state. Of course, that doesn’t prevent people who drink from driving to a “wet” county to purchase their alcoholic beverages.

  10. And parts of Utah like Salt Lake City have plenty of people are make it a point to do their share of drinking.

  11. The idea that 1/3 of alcohol drinkers in America are irresponsible or alcoholics is ridiculous if this were so the damage would be indescribable. The vast majority of drinkers i would bet more that 80-90% are responsible.

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