A new study shows that America is suffering from a severe post-millennium drinking problem, with potentially dire implications for care costs, quality of life and record fatalities.
It is estimated that 30 million Americans now binge drink to alarming levels, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
A similar number reported alcohol abuse or dependency.
The results come at a time when the US faces a huge problem with addiction.
An ongoing opioid crisis continues to plague the country, and while the opioid issue has been described as a ‘crisis of masculinity‘ the alcohol issue shows an increase in female binge drinking.
“This should be a big wake-up call,” said David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Alcohol is our number one drug problem, and it’s not just a problem among kids.”
“We pay for all of it,” added Jürgen Rehm, senior director of the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
“The response of society should be commensurate to the level of the problem.”
Whereas the opioid crisis has gotten major media attention, there is little in the pipeline for the increase in alcohol abuse: “Alcohol,” Rehm said, “we just tend to overlook.”