Yesterday we reported Bismarck was the second happiest city in the nation…
But we also rank high in a different category….
According to Human Services nearly 89% of North Dakota adults believe alcohol use is a problem in their community.
And this state is rated number 1 for being the drunkest.
Laura Anderson, Assistant Director with the Behavioral Health Division, says, “We don’t really know why North Dakota is higher than other states. It could be many things. It could be social norms, it could be policies that are potentially more supportive or not as stringent related to alcohol use.”
Jerry Roberts reguarly comes to the bar to play pool and hang out with friends.
Jerry Roberts, Bismarck Resident, says, “It just says North Dakota is the place to party really.”
He just drinks a coke while at the bar.
In the past, Roberts was a taxi driver and when 1 am hits.
It doesn’t always go as planned.
Roberts says, “See many of the downsides to drinking. Experienced them in my own life.”
That means binge drinking comes with consequences.
Anderson says, “Arrests. So we can see the number of arrests related to alcohol, but most of those are related to DUI’s.”
When North Dakota is compared to the rest of the nation there’s a much higher percentage when it comes to drinking.
30% of North Dakotan’s report binge drinking within the past 30 days. In the U.S. it’s 24.7%.
“We do know that the more alcohol is accessible and easier to obtain, the higher the alcohol rates typically are,” says Anderson.
Or it could be just the fact that there’s not much else to do.
Jerry Roberts, Bismarck Resident, says, “I can see it’s a rural state. Rural states tend to drink a little bit heavier than the more heavily populated states.”
Despite now being #1, there has been great success in reducing youth drinking rates. Over a stretch of 10 years— 60% of youth reported drinking — now it is just 30%.
Ages 18 to 26 report alcohol use most often when compared to other age groups.