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Wisconsin No. 1 in binge drinking

In the first of a five part report, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wisconsin as the leading state in binge drinking, percentage of drinkers in the population and driving under the influence, according to national studies.
Wisconsin's No. 1 ranks on binge drinking and percentage of drinkers in the population are based on data collected under the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Statistics on driving under the influence came from 2004-'06 surveys by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of 127,000 drivers.
Wisconsin has ranked first in binge drinking every year since at least 1995. The CDC officially considers five drinks per occasion to be a binge.
The Journal Sentinel also reported that Wisconsin has three times more taverns than the rest of the country.
According to interviews with sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, historians and residents, factors contributing to these statistics are climate, ethnicity, the historical importance of the brewing industry and the social nature of drinking.
43% of Wisconsinites claim ancestry from Germany — second only to North Dakota, a state that virtually mirrors the drinking patterns of Wisconsin.
Chris Geldon, 27, of South Milwaukee said, “It’s almost like there’s a drinking expectation, that we embrace it, that we can have a good time and it’s part of our culture.?
"The federal government estimates that alcohol claims some 1,250 Wisconsin lives a year — about 2.7% of all deaths statewide. That’s nearly twice the number that die from prostate cancer. Drinking is blamed for scores of deaths from suicides and homicides, and hundreds from falls, strokes and liver disease." (The Journal Sentinel)