Recently, CBS News conducted research to find out which states were the “Booziest” in America. Which state do you think leads the list? Our very own North Dakota! Of adults surveyed, 29.77% of them reported having binge drank at least once in the past month. This got us thinking. When and how does the paradigm shift? We have always known that North Dakota has been one of the top 5 binge drinking states over the years, but how have we claimed the #1 spot and how can we help reduce this number? First, let’s throw out some statistics for a minute:
- Each year college students spend $5.5 billion on alcohol (mostly beer). This is more than they spend on books, soda, coffee, juice, and milk combined. On a typical campus, the average amount spent per student is $466 a year.
- Alcohol intoxication in North Dakota is involved in: 40-50% traffic fatalities, 25-30% non-fatal motor vehicle injuries, up to 64% of fires and burns, 48% for hypothermia and frostbite cases, and approx. 20% of completed suicides.
With those statistics it’s a travesty that we lead the country in binge drinking. The bottom line is how do we fix it?
Think about how you have learned new things socially your entire life. If you love a sport and watch your favorite player, do you want to be like him or her? Of course you do. Will you will imitate his or her actions and try to be just like them? It’s the same when it comes to drinking. From a young age in North Dakota, we are exposed to our loved ones sipping a beer during normal activities. At the bar, at ball games, and at the lake while mowing the lawn or boating. As children, we soak this up and think it’s normal to drink 5 beers in an hour because we have always seen “Uncle Bob” doing it.
How do we change this? With education for our children and by setting a good example. Parents, we are the #1 influence on our children and if we don’t lead by good example, our children will do the same. We need to step up to the plate and set good examples for our children if we want our beautiful state to claim the top spot in other national ranking categories. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were looked at for our community service or budgetary surplus instead of binge drinking? It IS possible and it’s up to you.