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Alcohol Use (Binge Drinking During the Past 30 Days)

Excessive alcohol use, such as binge drinking, can increase the risk of various health problems like liver diseases and cancer. Binge drinking can also lead to injuries from automobile accidents as well as injuries from interpersonal violence.1

Findings in Santa Barbara County

Measure

Binge drinking was defined as four or more drinks on one occasion for women and five or more drinks on one occasion for men consumed within the past 30 days. It is possible that this is under-reported because people might be reluctant to report high levels of drinking, which has a social stigma.

Table 8. Percentage of Adults Who Report Binge Drinking During the Past 30 Days and the Healthy People 2020 Target

2016 Santa Barbara
BRFSS
California*Health People 2020
Target
%(95% CI) % (95% CI)
Overall 16.7 (14.0-19.3) 15.6 (14.5–16.7)
Male 22.4 (18.1-26.7) 20.3 (18.6–22.0)
Female 11.4 (8.3-14.5) 11.1 (9.7–12.5)
24.4
Hispanic 16.7 (12.5-20.9) 16.6 (14.6–18.7)
Non-Hispanic White 15.7 (12.2-19.2) 17.3 (15.8–18.8)
Other 24.4 (13.0-35.9) NA

*2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Figure 16. Percentages of Self-Reported Binge Drinking in Santa Barbara County, by Sex and Age

Percentages of Self-Reported Binge Drinking in Santa Barbara County, by Sex and Age Click to Enlarge

Figure 17. Percentage of Self-Reported Binge Drinking in Santa Barbara County, by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and Income

Percentage of Self-Reported Binge Drinking in Santa Barbara County, by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and Income Click to Enlarge

Health Disparities

The percentage of individuals who report binge drinking in the past 30 days in Santa Barbara County overall is substantially lower than the HP 2020 target, but twice as many men than women report binge drinking.

Binge drinking rates are similar for Hispanics and whites, but the highest percentage is among those of “other” ethnic groups, Asian-American and African-American. The age group most likely to binge drink is the 18–44 group, which includes college students, who might account for the higher prevalence of binge drinking.

The map below shows the percentage of survey respondents who report binge drinking during the past 30 days. The smaller map of Isla Vista with its overall percentage of binge drinking might underestimate rates, specifically among college students. The tract where the university is located has an estimated 13.3% binge drinking rate, and the tract next to it has an even higher rate, 20.1%.

However, two tracts in this cluster have no binge drinking reports, and another has a 7% reported incidence. In order to get a reliable estimate for this area, we had to combine the groups, which made an average incidence of binge drinking for these tracts of 12.6%.

Figure 18. Percentage of Santa Barbara County Adults Reporting Binge Drinking**, by County Subregion

Percentage of Santa Barbara County Adults  Reporting Binge Drinking, by County SubregionClick to Enlarge

Factors and Health Outcomes Associated with Binge Drinking

Figure 19 presents various individual, social, and environmental factors associated with binge drinking. It compares only Santa Barbara County residents who report binge drinking with all county residents and with Californians as a whole.

Figure 19. Health and Risk Factors of Santa Barbara County Adults Who Report Binge Drinking in the Past 30 Days (16.7%), Compared With All Santa Barbara County Adults and Californians* as a Whole

Health and Risk Factors of Santa Barbara Adults Who Report Binge Drinking in the Past 30 Days (16.7%), Compared With All Santa Barbara Adults and Californians* as a WholeClick to Enlarge

*Data for California are not available for all indicators

The figure shows that binge drinkers are more likely to also report current smoking than Santa Barbara County residents as a whole. In addition, they report food insecurity and cite not having health insurance at higher rates than others. Binge drinkers were less likely to report fair/poor health, diabetes/pre-diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. People who report binge drinking in the past 30 days may be more likely to be younger and thus suffering at lower rates from chronic diseases.

Key Opportunities for Population Health Improvement

What Businesses Can Do

  • Have written policies that promote an alcohol-free workplace.2
  • Inform and educate employees about alcohol and drug use as part of general employee wellness education.3
  • Provide a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees who want help with drinking.4
  • Encourage employees and their families to use the EAP and train supervisors to support employees who do so.5

http://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/workplace-kit.pdf
http://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/workplace-kit.pdf
http://calabria.dronet.org/comunicazioni/news/samhsa_work.pdf
http://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/workplace-kit.pdf


What Healthcare Providers Can Do

  • Provide basic alcohol screening and brief intervention programs.6
  • Use the four-question CAGE from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.7
  • Use the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) instrument.8

http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/alcohol-screening-brief-intervention
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa65/AA65.htm
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa65/AA65.htm


What Individuals Can Do

  • Take the "Rethinking Drinking" self-test online.9
  • Get help at Alcoholics Anonymous.10
  • Use the EAP at work, if one is available.

https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Is-your-drinking-pattern-risky/Whats-Your-Pattern.aspx
10 http://www.aa.org/



1 Miller, J. W., Naimi, T. S., Brewer, R. D., & Jones, S. E. (2007). Binge drinking and associated health risk behaviors among high school students. Pediatrics, 119(1), 76-85
Boffetta, P., & Hashibe, M. (2006). Alcohol and cancer. The lancet oncology, 7(2), 149-156.

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