Raising awareness of high-risk drinking during Alcohol Awareness Month

Eau Claire Healthy Communities is joining others across the country this month to raise awareness, reduce the stigma, and prevent alcohol abuse.

Wisconsin has the highest rates of binge drinking in the U.S. High-risk drinking costs Wisconsin $6.8 billion a year. In Eau Claire County, the cost of high-risk drinking is $1,600 per year per resident. This includes lost productivity, law enforcement costs, medical costs, etc. On average, 19 Eau Claire County residents die from alcohol each year.

See how your drinking pattern compares with other U.S. adults by completing a short questionnaire (https://bit.ly/2hTif8v).

Excessive drinking increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting.

Here are some strategies to help:
Keep track of how much you drink. For males, no more than 4 drinks on any day and no more than 14 drinks per week; For females, no more than 3 drinks on any day and no more than 7 drinks per week.

-Set a goal of low-risk drinking. 

-Choose days each week when you will not drink.

-Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.

-Avoid places where people drink a lot.

-Make a list of reasons not to drink.

-Find alternative activities – develop new hobbies and relationships or renew ones you have missed.

In addition to binge drinking, alcoholism is an issue that affects our community. It affects people of every age, ethnicity, gender, community, and income level. However, the stigma of alcoholism prevents millions of individuals and families from seeking help. Many people don’t know that alcoholism is a disease that can be treated, just like how we treat diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. If you’re concerned about drinking habits, call 2-1-1 for help. The Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline (833) 944-4673 is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

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