Morrison County was recently found to have the highest rate of binge drinkers in Minnesota, according to a study by the American Journal of Public Health on alcohol use in adults over the age of 21.
Being #1 for such a distinction is no reason to celebrate, although apparently the county’s residents know how to get their party on.
In this past week’s issue of the Morrison County Record, it was reported that the County Board recently voted no on creating a social host ordinance that would have attempted to curb underage drinking. Looks to me like we need to work just as hard at curbing adult drinking. Kind of a “lead by example” strategy.
While it may be easy to figure out which communities have the highest rates of binge drinking, what isn’t so easy is teasing out why people feel the need to binge drink. Having lived in Little Falls most of my life, I can take a stab at a contributing factor. Morrison County remains at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in comparison with other counties in the state. A lack of jobs and a lack of decent income tends to lead to a certain hopelessness that can easily discourage a person. Imbibing in alcohol is a coping mechanism, a way to not feel so hopeless for a little while (even though it doesn’t take away the original problem).
What other reasons to you think lead to an excess of binge drinking in Morrison County and Little Falls? What strategies might we employ to decrease binge drinking?