Wisconsin Binge Drinking

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- It's official -- Wisconsin still leads the nation in binge drinking.

The title comes from a new report released today by the UW Population Health Institute.

Wisconsin has the highest rates in the nation for high school student and underage drinking. Forty-nine percent of high school students drink, while 39 percent of those under 21 do.

About 2,100 Wisconsin residents die annually from accidents or diseases related to alcohol or drug use, and almost 190 million dollars in public funds are spent on related hospitalizations and treatment.

The figures are based on the most recent data available for each category, either from 2005 or 2004.

The report did have some good news. The portion of high school students who began drinking before age 13 decreased to 24 percent in 2005 from 29 percent in 1997. The 2005 figure was 2 percentage points better than the national average.

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