Wisconsin ranked #1 binge drinking state in nation

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Having a beer on St. Patrick's Day is a tradition for many across the United States, but a new study shows Wisconsin drinkers love downing drinks more than people in any other state.

Recoveryfind.com analyzed data from the CDC to figure out what states were most likely to drink to excess; Wisconsin is listed as number one.

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department says with St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, it's a great time to talk about drinking safely.

The department says binge drinking is a community wide issue and one that needs to be addressed.

Bartender Nikki Hodgeman says drinking is part of Eau Claire’s weekend culture.

“As a bartender that's the motto, you know, Friday and Saturday you just go out to get drunk and you don't want to remember what you did the night before," said Hodgeman.

So, she says it's not surprising to hear Wisconsin is listed as the number one binge drinking state in the U.S. by Recoveryfind.com.

The site also ranks Wisconsin number three in the nation for the number of bars and liquor stores per capita.

“With all the people in the area and all the access to alcohol and bars and liquor stores it doesn't really surprise me at all,” said UW-Eau Claire student, Trent Tetzlaff.

Lieske Giese with Eau Claire’s City-County Health Department says binge drinking is costing the county $160 million every year.

Giese said, “It's a number we can calculate based on accidents, hospitalization, lost work time, those things cost every one of us money. It's not just the person who is drinking too much.”

Giese also said there is an average of 20 alcohol related deaths annually.

“It can be one time that someone binges drinks and it has happened, so we know the economic cost and the personal cost can be enormous."

Giese says with 13 percent of high school students admitting to binge drinking in Eau Claire County, she says parents need to have safe drinking conversations with their children early on.

Giese said, “Probably one of the most significant things we can do is start young. Education can make an enormous different.”

However, if you do go out for a few, Eau Claire officer Kyle Roder says make sure to plan ahead.

Roder said, “Whether it’s a sober driver or one of the numerous cab drivers we have available, make sure you have that lined up a head of time, because after the effects of alcohol is not when you should be planning those things."

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