Study Finds the Most Heavy Drinkers Live in Oklahoma Counties

You might know how much booze people in your area drink. But new data helps show which parts of Oklahoma are more likely to have heavy drinking and which are less likely to have it.

The 2023 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute came out earlier this year. Its goal is to make people more aware of the things that can affect health outcomes and disparities across the country.

Researchers use a lot of different types of data to figure out the length and quality of life in each state. One of these causes is drinking, especially drinking too much.

Researchers used self-reported data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find out how common heavy drinking is in each state. The data used for the 2023 study came from 2020, which was the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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When women drink too much, they binge (four or more drinks in one sitting, five or more for men) and when men drink too much, they heavy drink (eight or more drinks a week for women, fifteen or more for men).

Overall, 14% of adults in Oklahoma and West Virginia said they drank too much. This was the second-lowest number of any state. Utah was the only state with a lower rate, at 12%.

Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri, three states next to us, tied for having the most people who said they drank too much (20%). Texas had a slightly lower rate at 19%. Arkansas and New Mexico came in next, both with 18% rates. Overall, 19 states had a rate of heavy drinking at or above 20%.

Wisconsin has the most people who say they drink too much: There is an MLB team in the state named after its beer-brewing business, and 26% of adults there said they drank too much.

Researchers looked at data at the county level and found that 16% of people in nine of Oklahoma’s 77 counties said they drank too much. In Oklahoma, Ellis, Grant, Woodward, Woods, Alfalfa, Kay, Pawnee, and Noble are the only counties that are not in the southern part of the state. The University of Wisconsin also looked at how many people died because they were driving drunk in each state and county.

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The number of adults drinking too much in California is pretty low (18%), but between 2016 and 2020, 5,185 people died because they were driving while drunk, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

Even though fewer people in Oklahoma drank too much, the state had 881 deaths from drunk driving during the same time period, which was the 22nd highest in the country and just behind Washington state’s 892 deaths.

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