237144 Characteristics of Adult Binge Drinkers: Quantity Consumed, Beverage Preferences, and Subsequent Driving

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM

Jason Blanchette, MPH , Department of General Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Ziming Xuan, ScD, SM, MA , Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Timothy S. Naimi, MD, MPH , Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to summarize the characteristics of adult binge drinkers with respect to quantity consumed, beverage preferences, and driving after binge drinking. METHODS: Data were analyzed from 7,876 adult binge drinkers from the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System binge drinking module among 14 states. Binge drinking was defined as consuming ³5 drinks for men or ³4 drinks for women in the past 30 days. RESULTS: During their most recent binge episode, men consumed an average of 8.3 (median 6) drinks and women consumed an average of 5.7 (median 5) drinks. Risk factors for consuming a larger number of drinks included being male, younger, and paying less per drink. Beer accounted for 62.4% of all binge drinks consumed. Overall, 7.8% of binge drinkers reported driving during or within two hours of binge drinking. Risk factors for driving after binge drinking included being male, older, binge drinking more often, and consuming alcohol in a licensed establishment (i.e., bars, clubs and restaurants). CONCLUSIONS: Binge drinkers typically consume alcohol at levels exceeding the thresholds defining this behavior. From a public health perspective, alcohol control policies (e.g., excise tax rates) should be arguably stricter for beer than for other beverages. Promulgating effective laws and policies (e.g., prohibitions against sales to intoxicated patrons, dram shop liability laws) to prevent over-service and excessive consumption of alcohol in establishments could substantially reduce impaired driving.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe characteristics of adult binge drinkers regarding quantity consumed, beverage preferences, and subsequent driving that can be considered when making policy decisions.

Keywords: Binge Drinking, Alcohol Problems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked in the fields of substance abuse treatment, prevention, and research for the last 5 1/2 years. My work included 1 1/2 years of organizing community efforts to reduce adolescent substance use where I spent a large portion of my time and efforts conducting community assessments. Currently I am finishing an MPH at the Boston University School of Public Health where I focused many of my class projects on alcohol related topics and where I completed alcohol research projects with highly qualified alcohol researchers and statisticians. The current project I am presenting was completed with guidance from two highly qualified alcohol researchers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.