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Iowa Ranks High For Binge Drinking

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--April is alcohol awareness month and the Iowa Department of Public Health wants Iowans to educate themselves on binge drinking.   

The department says Iowa is one of seven states in the nation that rank high for the percentage of adults who binge drink.

Tiffany and Scott binge drinking for men is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion, for women it's having four or more.

While it may seem harmless it could have deadly consequences.

"It was doing for me what it wasn't doing for other people I was drinking with.

Joe had his first taste of alcohol when he was sixteen years old at a friend's party.

Just your regular high school binge drinking, he said, but the experience turned out to be more than regular.

It turned into a dependence on alcohol.

"It was a social lubricant. Where after a few drinks I could fit in better with everybody else, he said.

Its a battle that has led him here. The Safe Place Foundation, a transitional housing program that offers assistance to people dealing with substance abuse.

Not all binge drinkers are alcoholics.

Folks at the area substance abuse council say it's something some may not even realize they do.

"They binge drink for a number of reasons. They use live events. Celebrating different things that are happening, said Lindsey Elam, a Certified Prevention Specialist at ASAC.

Every day socialization that can be dangerous.

"The more you binge drink it will eventually increase your tolerance each time and so once you increase your tolerance you're more susceptible to developing a dependence or an addiction to alcohol, said Elam.

Joe, who has started seeing stretches of sobriety thanks to a 12 step program, says people need to understand the risks of drinking.

"Alcohol is a fatal substance.You don't have to be an alcoholic to drink yourself to death.

Folks at ASAC say one way to avoid binge drinking is to never consume more than one drink in an hour.

They say it helps to alternate between a drink and a glass of water.
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