CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - A newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows Americans are drinking excessively. It shows adults consumed 17 billion drinks in 2015.
This is first of its kind information, because a legal act is hard to measure. The Area Substance Abuse Council in Cedar Rapids said it’s not just a national issue.
“We definitely have a culture here locally where holidays are big with alcohol. Family functions are big with alcohol. It just seems to be anytime anything is celebrated, or anytime you receive bad news, or sad news, alcohol tends to come into the picture,” Director of Prevention Services Erin Foster said.
Foster said binge drinking can lead to domestic violence, sexual assault, and impaired driving. Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, eastern Iowa saw a number of arrests involving alcohol.
In Cedar Rapids, police saw 11 operating while intoxicated arrest, and 17 public intoxication. Iowa City saw 11 OWI and 2 public intoxication, Cedar Falls saw 1 OWI and 2 public intoxication, and Dubuque saw 2 OWI and 9 public intoxication.
Without help, Foster said binge drinking can turn into long term health issues.
“Different cancers that we see, heart disease, all of those things have really strong connections to drinking in excess,” she said.
That’s why ASAC puts on prevention efforts throughout the year. It works with businesses and offers training on how to consume and serve alcohol safely.
“What does it look like to safely serve someone alcohol and different policies that go into providing other means of transportation for their patrons, or looking at access serving,” Foster said.
ASAC is already starting to look at how to keep policies in place at festivals over the summer months. It wants events to remain family friendly and safe for everyone.
“Alcohol just has such a culture around it,” Foster said. “It’s very easy to access, the perception of harm is very low on it, it’s everywhere.”
ASAC asks you pay attention to your habits, and take this assessment if you have concerns.