According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking was responsible for one out of 10 deaths among working-age adults between 2006 and 2010. Amongst all ages, around 88,000 people died each year solely from drinking too much, and each victim’s life was shortened by an average of 30 years. In other words, as a country, we’re drinking too much. Way too much.
Amazingly, the CDC report is the first nationwide report of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S., but really, the results shouldn’t be all that surprising, considering American culture is one that practically worships drinking and alcohol. For example, while the U.S. long ago amended the Constitution to legalize alcohol — a substance which kills almost 100,000 people every year — another certain popular drug that’s never caused a single death is still illegal at the federal level. This is a country that’s addicted to booze, both literally and figuratively.
How do we know this country has a drinking problem? Let us count the ways.
1. There are over a million emergency room visits every year due to excessive drinking.
2. At one point during his 2008 presidential run, Barack Obama had to fight back allegations that he didn’t drink enough beer.
3. When a celebrity shows up drunk at an awards show, our first thought is: She’s just like us!
4. The most legendary and respected American author of the 20th Century? Ernest Hemingway.
5. The most iconic TV cartoon character of the 20th Century? Homer Simpson.
6. Around one in three eighth graders reports having tried alcohol at least once.
7. In 2011, a Montana lawmaker argued passionately that drunk driving shouldn’t be a crime. He was reelected.
8. Over 10,000 people die every year in drunk-driving accidents.
9. This guy is a cultural icon, and everyone knows what his favorite drink is.
10. When the founding fathers finished drafting the Constitution, they celebrated by drinking an ungodly amount of alcohol.
12. Kids too young to buy booze have apparently been drinking hand sanitizer mixed with Listerine in order to get drunk, a tradition that originated in New Zealand prisons.
13. We’re okay with drastic changes from one James Bond film to the next — as long as his drink of choice stays the same.
14. Almost 2,000 college students die every year from alcohol-related injuries.
15. Over the past month, 1/4 of underaged Americans have had alcohol.
16. We invented the saying "It's five o'clock somewhere."
17. One in six teens binge drink — but only one in 100 parents think their teenage child binge drinks.
18. When a TV show depicts 1950s characters getting drunk at work, we don’t get disgusted — we get nostalgic.
19. ...and then react by changing to rules to also let employees to drink on the job.