Alcohol and Drug Use/Abuse was identified as the #1 Health Concern during the 2015 Washburn County Community Health Assessment.
This year the two main focuses are:
- Increasing public awareness and understanding of alcoholism and reducing the stigma connected to this diagnosis.
- Underage drinking.
These focuses align with the goals of the 2016-2020 Washburn County Health Improvement plan. (CHIP)
In 2017, the Top 20 U.S. Cities Where Alcohol had Been Identified as a Major Issue were released. The 3 criteria used in the report were as follows: 1) Estimated number of bars per 10,000 residents, 2) Percent of adults who drank to access in the last 30 days, and, 3) The percent of alcohol-related driving deaths.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin was heavily represented. Five of the top six are in Wisconsin; 1. Green Bay, 2. Eau Claire, 3. Appleton, 4. Madison, and 6. Oshkosh/Neenah, as are 7 of the top 10; 9. Wausau and 10. La Crosse WI/Onalaska, WI, and 10 of the top 20; 12, Fond du Lac, 15. Sheboygan and 20. Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis.
In another report, Wisconsin ranks 3rd in the nation for heavy and binge drinking. It is considered binge drinking if a woman has more than 4 drinks or a man has more than 5 on any one occasion. Heavy drinking is identified as 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week for a woman and 15 or more for a man.
Alcoholism is a chronic progressive disease linked to family history and genetics. Alcohol intake is also considered a risk factor for the following cancers: breast, colorectal, esophagus, larynx, liver, mouth and throat. The more alcohol a person drinks the higher their cancer risk.
If you have a Family History of alcoholism, talk about it, get it out in the open. Remove the stigma and make all family members aware, so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to drink alcohol. Include adolescents and young adults too, as they are most at risk to continue this familiar behavior.
Alcohol use is very risky for young people. The longer they delay starting, the less likely they are to develop an alcohol problem. Talk to your children. Listen to your children. Give them the skills to make smart decisions and develop a plan to remain alcohol-free until age 21. After all, it is the law.
If you are concerned about a friend, family member, co-worker or your own drinking Help is available. Discuss it with your medical provider. There are many treatment options and you and your doctor together can find the one that is the best fit for you.
most Insurance plans cover the costs associated with treatment. There are community meetings and support groups for both drinkers and family/friends. A complete list is available at www.area74.org. Additional alcohol-related resources are available at www.cdc.gov/alcohol/.