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Fast Facts: April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol consumption is associated with many treasured Wisconsin pastimes—from tailgating to a visit to the local microbrewery. These traditions, of course, can be taken too far: Wisconsin’s alcohol use rates are among the highest in the nation. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), alcohol is the most used addictive substance in the state. DHS data show that 65% of adults aged 18 and older reported consuming alcohol in the previous month in 2019. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports an average of six people die of alcohol poisoning in the U.S. each day.

Data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center (WHAIC) reveals that in 2019 alone, there were roughly 34,000 inpatient and emergency department alcohol-related visits. The average age of the patients who visited hospitals for alcohol-related treatment was 45. The highest count of visits per age group occurred in the 51-to-60-year-old group. The CDC states that 76% of alcohol poisoning deaths are among adults aged 35 to 64. According to WHAIC data, men account for twice as many visits as women, following with the national trend. NonHispanic or Latino patients accounted for 92% of all visits.

The Wisconsin Population Health Institute notes that binge drinking costs the state roughly $4 billion dollars each year—over two-thirds of the cost attributed to lost productivity. Excessive drinking has both significant economic impacts and severe health consequences. Long-term use of excessive alcohol can lead to chronic diseases and other health problems such as high blood pressure, certain cancers and memory loss.

Alcohol Awareness Month aims to focus attention on the negative economic and health impacts of alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption kills about 88,000 people per year—4,300 of those deaths occurred in people under the age of 21. This April, WHA joins health organizations nationwide in sharing information and resources designed to encourage healthy and responsible alcohol consumption.