Nearly 1 in 5 Adults in NJ are Binge Drinkers — Find Out If You Are, Too
More than a million adults in New Jersey are binge drinking, according to the latest data set released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state-by-state data revealed that 17 percent of Garden State adults (18 years and older) are considered binge drinkers — defined as women who've consumed four or more drinks, or men who've consumed five or more drinks on an occasion during the past 30 days.
"Excessive alcohol use ... is associated with an increased risk of many health problems, such as liver disease and unintentional injuries," the CDC said.
As for the intensity of binge drinking, defined as the average largest number of drinks consumed by binge drinkers on any occasion, New Jersey comes in at 6.9, according to the data.
"Everything needs to be in moderation; you need to be smart," said Ezra Helfand, executive director of the Wellspring Center for Prevention in Middlesex County.
Helfand said binge drinking is more of an issue among New Jersey's younger legal drinkers, such as those in their college years.
According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the prevalence of binge drinking among eighth graders continues to significantly decline, and among high school seniors, binge drinking is at 15.5 percent, which is half its peak of 31.5 percent in 1998.
A higher binge drinking rate is registered in 24 other states, plus the District of Columbia, in the CDC data. Nearly a quarter of adults are considered binge drinkers in D.C., Wisconsin and North Dakota. Rates in neighboring New York and Pennsylvania are 17.6 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively.