Ithaca, N.Y. — Tompkins County saw a 16.3 percent jump in binge drinking from 2005 to 2012, according to a report published by Syracuse.com’s Jim Mulder last week.

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Mulder’s number-crunching found that binge drinking had increased 14.3 percent in New York between 2005 and 2012 and 8.9 percent nationally over the same period.

(For those of you keeping score at home, yes, that means binge drinking in the Ithaca area is increasing at about twice the national average.)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as four drinks or more for women and five or more for men on a single occasion at least once a month.

(Syracuse.com’s numbers come from a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, and the numbers are based only on adults 21 years old or older.)

4 other notes about Ithaca area binge drinking … if you have a question, email me at jstein@ithacavoice.com and I’ll try to answer it and update this story:

1 — What are the numbers?

About 21 percent of Tompkins County adults are binge drinkers, according to Syracuse.com.

Syracuse.com also reported that binge drinking rates were 22 percent in Schuyler County; 22 percent in Cortland County; and 20 percent in Tioga County.

2 — Male v. female

Men in Tompkins County binge drinking at a rate nearly twice as high as that of women, according to the Syracuse.com data.

Though rates of binge drinking are increasing more quickly among women than men, 27 percent of Tompkins men binge drink — compared to 15 percent of Tompkins women.

3— How do we compare to the rest of the state?

We’re about the same as the rest of the state.

Across New York, 13 percent of women binge drinking and 25 percent of men binge drinking. (In Tompkins, as noted above, it’s 15 percent of women and 27 percent of men.)

4 — Rates among high schoolers

While adult binge drinking is increasing, its incidence appears to be declining among high school students.

The following chart, courtesy of the Tompkins County Health Department’s community health assessment, shows a drop in 10th grade alcohol consumption:


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.