Binge Drinking Preferences Defined by Age
> 8/8/2007 10:25:54 AM

It's become something of a trope in contemporary literature and film: a young teen sneaking his first drink from his father's liquor cabinet, grimacing mightily at the shocking taste of a liquid adults seem to slurp down with ease. As some new survey data demonstrated this week though, this is one instance where art seems to be imitating life. Lead by binge drinking expert Dr. Timothy Naimi, this new study focused on the type of alcohol that different groups use when they binge. For adult drinkers, the booze of choice was beer, which Dr. Naimi pointed out is easy to acquire and cost efficient. Younger drinkers, especially those underaged, tend to turn to hard liquor, which has a much stronger effect in smaller portions that can be easily swiped from a family liquor cabinet.

Dr. Naimi, whose name is attached to virtually every major binge drinking study in the last ten years, recently spoke with Newsday and pointed out that not all of the study's findings followed cultural stereotypes. Newsday writes:

Also at odds with the public perception is the age of the average binge drinker. Not all are chug-a-lugging frat boys. "People of college age 18 to 25 account for only 30 percent of all binge drinking episodes. So college binge drinking is only the tip of the iceberg," Naimi said.

Binge drinking, typically defined as 4-5 drinks for a man or 3-4 drinks for a woman on a particular drinking occasion (usually around 2 hours), is much more common than most people think. While most people associate the practice with rowdy young people and "beer bongs," as Dr. Naimi pointed out, a majority of binge drinkers are over 25-years-old. Teen binge drinking is universally understood to be a problem, and many organizations and non-profits work to address the issue. But much less is done to address the issue of adult binge drinking, which can be just as much if not more of a burden on society. Binge drinking is a major factor in drunk driving and many other dangerous behaviors. Over his career Dr. Naimi's research has highlighted the many faccets to the problem, now we need to begin moving toward solutions. Speaking to Newsday, Dr. Naimi explains how beer's availability may fuel greater amounts of binge drinking. By cutting down on beer sales late at night and limiting the locations where it can be distributed, local governments can make headway in addressing the issue.

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