Yes, the “binge drinking” definition is silly.
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • August 25, 2011 @ 9:15am
Drinking is the prime summer social activity in Buffalo. On bar patios, at family barbecues, before Darien Lake shows or on softball diamonds, it’s near impossible to beat the magical mix of sunshine and alcohol. Why not live it up during the three months of good weather? I don’t think we’re being particularly edgy or outlandish in saying this, either.
The Buffalo News’ Jay Rey covered—objectively—a study on binge drinking compiled by Univera Healthcare and surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the findings, 22% of polled Western New Yorkers said they consumed at least five 12 oz. beers, five oz. glasses of wine or five 1 1/2 oz shots in one sitting at least once in a 30 day span. For women, it is four or more of the same drinks. That, my friends, is considered binge drinking by the CDC.
The definition is silly. Say, for instance, you’re at the annual family barbecue, and you crack your first beer at 3 p.m. for a game of KanJam (because only competitive KanJammers play without beer-in-hand). Uncle Luke then offers you a Genny Cream Ale because he wants to rehash stories from his heyday. You have a delicious locally-brewed craft beer with dinner. It’s 8 p.m. and your recently-turned 21 cousin wants to shotgun a beer with you—you reluctantly agree, but cut your lip on the can (very painful, by the way). There’s a family bonfire around 10 p.m., and you roast marshmallows and sip a Labatt Blue Light in a reclining chair. You leave safely at 1:30 a.m., lugging a few drunk friends home, with all your beer metabolized and your BAC practically nil. You, pal, are a BINGE DRINKER!
Smartly, Rey continues by showing that the time-span is actually important! The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says five beers in two hours is “binge drinking” (four drinks in two hours for women.) A lengthy beer pong win streak can be the culprit, or the sneaky nature of shots can exceed the limit quickly. With college beginning next week, a conservative attitude toward alcohol consumption for those of age is smart—fewer walks of shame, fewer 4 p.m. wake-ups on Saturday—you know the drill.
Honestly, labeling someone a “binge drinker” for guzzling five drinks in one extended sitting is pretty Draconian (we bet Draco even hid in his haughty Athenian hut and chugged a handful of Greek ales every once and awhile.) We’re all about being smart, responsible and knowing your personal limits, but if you’re part of the study’s 22% of delinquents, you won’t hear scorn from us.
Keep drinking, Buffalo. (but be safe!)