Alcohol is a regulated drug made with fruits, vegetables or grains through a process called fermentation. Beer and wine are fermented alcohols. Spirits go through a distillation process that removes some of the water to leave a higher concentration of alcohol.
In the United States, a “drink” has 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. A “drink” is considered to be:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 8 ounces of malt liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor
The consumption of alcohol in low amounts, such as having one beer or glass of wine, is often used to “loosen up” in social settings or relax after a day of work. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can slow down basic functions in the human body when consumed in larger amounts. This includes decreasing motor skills, slurred speech, and slowing reaction times.
In the short term, excessive drinking can increase the likelihood of violence, risky sexual behavior, and injuries.
Long-term, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to several health complications of the heart, liver, and other body parts. Alcohol can have serious negative effects such as high blood pressure, stroke, fatty liver, fibrosis, and cancer of the esophagus, liver, color, and more. Long-term use can also lead to dependence, anxiety, and depression. These are separate from the accidents caused by drunk driving and the six people who die every day in the United States from alcohol poisoning.
Millions of Americans enjoy alcohol responsibly; however, it is also misused and abused every day by many. Approximately 18% of American adults regularly consume too much alcohol, and the rates are higher in some cities.
24/7 Wall Street reviewed the excessive drinking rates in 381 metro areas in the United States to identify the 20 drunkest cities. The 20 drunkest cities in the US are:
- Green Bay, WI
- Eau Claire, WI
- Appleton, WI
- Madison, WI
- Fargo, ND/MN
- Oshkosh-Neenah, WI
- Missoula, MT
- Grand Forks, ND/MN
- Wausau, WI
- La Crosse-Onalaska, WI/MN
- Mankato/North Mankato, MN
- Fond du Lac, WI
- Iowa City, IA
- Dubuque, IA
- Sheboygan, WI
- Watertown-Fort Drum, NY
- Lincoln, NE
- Fairbanks, AK
- Ames, IA
- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
The drunkest city in the United States is Green Bay, Wisconsin. Approximately 26.5% of adults drink to excess. 50.5% of driving deaths in Green Bay involve alcohol. Wisconsin has a total of ten cities in the 20 drunkest cities list, four of them making the top five. There is no clear answer as to why the state is full of heavy drinkers, however, some attribute it to the cheap alcohol prices and the brutal winters.
The top 20 drunkest cities are in the northernmost parts of the United States, while the driest cities (least drunk) are generally located in southern or western areas.