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CDC reports on binge drinking harms

That’s according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report included multiple statistics related to binge drinking.

A CDC fact sheet says binge drinking can cost the country more than $220 billion in a single year.

Steve Crowley, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University, said one reason binge drinking is so dangerous is because it can cause uncontrollable liver bleeding.

“People who are unable to stop (drinking) — their liver eventually becomes scarred, which is called cirrhosis,” he said. “When that happens these people become very sick. They can have problems bleeding from the gut.

“It’s the worst form of bleeding from the gut because sometimes it can’t be stopped.”

Crowley said binge drinking could also lead to neurological issues.

“It leads to neurological dysfunction — loss of memory, problems with finding work and also really severe problems with coordination, even walking,” he said.

Binge drinking can cause health issues for everyone who engages in it, but the CDC report said men engage in binge drinking more often than women.

“While the report doesn’t describe reasons behind the data, the large proportion of alcohol poisoning deaths among males is consistent with the high prevalence and intensity of binge drinking among males,” a CDC spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, said in an email.

The report also said underage drinkers are bingeing as well — about 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by people under the age of 21 in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinks.

UNC junior Helen Knafo said she was not surprised by those statistics.

Knafo has had to care for a friend who suffered from alcohol poisoning as a result of binge drinking — and she thinks it’s an issue on UNC’s campus.

“I think it’s definitely a problem, especially on this campus just because it’s so lax here. Chapel Hill is very much a college town, and there’s definitely room for improvement,” Knafo said.

She said she’s noticed that binge drinking is common among certain students at the university.

“It’s based on what kind of person you are. In college, not everyone binge drinks,” she said.

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Crowley said health problems aren’t the only issues binge drinking can cause.

“There are the social reasons of what it does to one’s family and the ability to engage in a regular job and the safety of other individuals because if these people are driving, they become a danger to others,” he said.

Crowley said the earlier binge drinkers can get help, the better,

“I think the time to intervene and try to help people is very early,” Crowley said. “Like nicotine, once people are hooked on something, it’s awfully hard to stop.”