Morrison County is #1 for the wrong reason

DSC02349Morrison 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?

3 thoughts on “Morrison County is #1 for the wrong reason

  1. Mary….you are spot on with your stab at the root cause of excessive drinking. Poverty is the enemy. Locally, nationally and internationally. The U.S. spends 2000 times more on the military than it spends on peace efforts. When our budget(58% of every dollar) is consumed with blowing things up and killing everything that moves, necessary infrastructure repair, education(only 6% of every dollar spent) and programs that assist strengthening our citizenry….of coarse there will be extreme poverty. Locally and throughout Mn there is a mushroom cloud of children and adults plaqued with fetal alcohol syndrome and or it’s effects. Many commit crimes, as they have no conscience. A conscience cannot develop in kids and adults with fetal alcohol or reactive attachment disorder. Many will live in dire poverty for their entire lives, and then create another generation of the very same kind of people. You are also spot on that the folks most concerned about underage drinking, set a very poor example. This community and it’$ non-profits hardly EVER host an event without drinking and gambling. This is not acceptable and needs to change but won’t, as these adults like their booze. The study is another embarrassment to Morrison County. Ever wonder why there isn’t a local campaign for ending poverty? I have.

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    • Robin – You have hit on another reason for binge drinking in Morrison County, one that someone else touched on when this post was shared on Facebook. We have a culture that weaves alcohol into all sorts of events. Morrison County isn’t alone in that. Minnesota was 5th on the list. North Dakota and Wisconsin both ranked higher. While alcohol is widely accepted culturally, other factors, like a poor economy, have to be pushing some people into the binge drinking category.

      I often wonder why more isn’t done to alleviate poverty in our area.

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