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Alcohol Abuse Among Delaware Adults in 2002


Acute, or "Binge," Drinking

About 18% of Delaware residents age 18 and older are "binge" drinkers. They have five or more drinks on one occasion, one or more times a month.

Dietary guidelines recommend that adults who drink alcohol should drink in moderation (no more than two drinks a day), and only when drinking doesn't put them – or anyone else – at risk. Excessive drinking can contribute to unintentional and intentional injuries, weight gain, heart disease, some types of cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, and other health problems.

Binge drinking, or "acute drinking episodes," are significantly more common among men – especially men in the 18 to 24 age group.

Prevalence of Binge Drinking
By Age and Gender

Image: Bar graph comparing adult binge drinking (18%) to adult men (42%) and youngadult men (55%). Complete information is in text below.
Source: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2002.

  • While 18% of all adults are acute or "binge" drinkers, the prevalence is 42% among young adults age 18-24.
  • All males are more likely to binge drink than females. Among adult males in Delaware, the prevalence is 28%, compared with 10% of adult women.
  • Men in the 18-24 age group have the highest prevalence for binge drinking – 55%.
  • 30% of the women in the 18-24 age group say they are binge drinkers, lower than the young adult males but still significantly higher than older women.

Chronic Heavy Drinking

Chronic or long-term heavy drinking is defined by the BRFSS as more than 60 drinks a month for men, or more than 30 drinks a month for women.

  • 10.3% of adult Delaware men report drinking more than 2 drinks a day, classified in the BRFSS as "heavy drinking."
  • 21.2% of men in the 18-24 age group are heavy drinkers by this definition.
  • 11% of white males are heavy drinkers, compared to 8% of African American men.
  • 5.8% of adult women are classified as heavy drinkers.
  • 13.7% of women in the 18-24 age group are heavy drinkers.
  • 6.5% of white females are heavy drinkers, compared to 4% of African American women.
Adult Drinking By County
Risk Factor State Kent New Castle Sussex
Binge Drinking 18.3% 14.3% 20.7% 13.9%
Chronic Heavy Drinking: Women 7.9% 5.5% 8.6% 7.6%
Chronic Heavy Drinking: Men 10.3% 6.5% 11.5% 9.3%
Drinking and Driving 2.4% 1.7% 2.4% 3%

Source: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2002.



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