Alcohol and Other Drugs:
The Problem


NEW! Marijuana and Impaired Driving fact sheet (PDF 673KB/2pgs)
The Human and Economic Cost of Alcohol Use in Minnesota report
(PDF 419KB/48pgs)
Alcohol Cost fact sheet (PDF 58KB/4pgs)


Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is associated with many health-related problems including motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, assaults, suicide, alcohol poisoning, hypertension, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a short amount of time. Some have modified the definition to be four drinks in a short amount of time for females:

  • In 2007, almost one in seven Minnesota adults reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
  • In 2007, Minnesota adults reported binge drinking at about the same rate as adults nationally.
  • According to the 2007 Minnesota Student survey, about two out of three of our high school seniors and two out of every five of our ninth graders reported drinking alcohol within that past year. More than one in four of our high school seniors and about one in eight of our night graders reported binge drinking.

College age drinking (which includes some underage drinking and some legal age drinking), especially binge drinking, is a problem in Minnesota. According to the 2007 College Student Health Survey:

  • 71 percent of college students consumed alcohol within the past 30 days of taking the survey.
  • The binge drinking rate was 37 percent among students of all ages (five or more drinks at sitting within the past two weeks of taking the survey). The peak years for engaging in binge drinking were between ages 21-24.
  • Among students who were underage, the percent who reported using alcohol within the past 30 days of taking the survey ranged from 53 percent for 18 year olds to 65 percent in 20 year olds.
  • Students who engaged in binge drinking reported an average of 19 negative consequences within the past 12 months of taking the surveyas a result of drinking, compared to an average of 4.4 negative consequences for students who reported they did not engage in high risk drinking.

Heavy drinking

Heavy drinking is defined for adult men as an average of more than two drinks per day.

  • Heavy drinking for adult women is defined as an average of more than one drink per day.
  • Heavy drinking is associated with liver cirrhosis, inflammation of the pancreas and various cancers including cancer of the liver, mouth, throat and voice box.
  • The rate of heavy drinking has stayed steady over the past couple of years, and Minnesota adults are slightly lower than adults nationally in reporting heavy drinking.
  • Four percent of Minnesota adults reporting heavy drinking in 2007.

Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving remains a serious problem in Minnesota:

  • In 2007, the National Safety Council estimated the cost of alcohol-related crashes in Minnesota to be $314 million.
  • Alcohol-related traffic deaths make up about one-third of all traffic crash deaths in Minnesota.
  • In 2004, almost three percent of Minnesota adults self-reported alcohol-impaired driving. Minnesota adults are more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than adults nationally.
  • One in four of our high school seniors reported driving after using alcohol or other drugs and even more rode with friends who had been using.

Marijuana and Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of marijuana doubles one’s risk of being in a crash.

Marijuana intoxication impairs driving, and impaired driving is a threat to everyone. There is mounting evidence from laboratory studies, driving simulator studies, and epidemiological research using crash injury and fatality data that show marijuana intoxication impairs psychomotor skills, reaction time, attention, and lane tracking. Research indicates that impairments in performance are generally dose-related and typically persist for two to four hours after use.

NEW! Marijuana and Impaired Driving fact sheet (PDF 673KB/2pgs)


For more information:

Updated Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 12:22PM