Wisconsin Cracks Down on Binge Drinking
While Wisconsin’s economy, job growth efforts, education funding and issues with health care tend to take center stage in debates over the state’s key problems, one issue is costing the state both in health and expenses. Last year alone, the state paid 10 percent of the proposed two-year, $68 billion dollar budget, on excessive alcohol consumption costs. It remains the nation’s leader in binge drinking.
The report on the issue said binge drinkers in Wisconsin average nine drinks per occasion. Additionally, America’s Health Rankings 2012 statistics said the state leads the U.S. with nearly a quarter of its adults drinking excessively in the past 30 days. Last August’s National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report identified Wisconsin as one of 18 states where citizens drink at least 2.5 gallons of ethanol per capita.
Now some city and state officials are proposing legislation that could have mixed results in alleviating this unhealthy and expensive problem. In one city a measure is being considered to crack down on alcohol sale to chronic drinkers. To save city costs, the bill would remove members from a “habitually intoxicated persons” list after six months without an incident. List members are currently reviewed on a three-month schedule. Troublemaking daytime street alcoholics with a history of substance abuse or mental illness are the target of the legislation.
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