In Morris County, 26.1% of people between ages 18 and 34 are considered binge drinkers in data collected by NJSHAD, 2016. When taking this data and generalizing it over the entirety of Morris County with 95% confidence that the data is accurate and not coincidental, the range goes all the way up to a potential Comparatively, both Passaic and Bergen county have significantly less binge drinkers, both falling about 21% (NJSHAD, 2016), and when generalized, the max is only 37%. Hudson county is also just below Morris County with a binge drinking percent of 25% and max range of 36%. Though Morris County is not the highest binge drinking county in Northern New Jersey, it is clear that the generalized data is still a high number. Especially comparing Morris County to the National Average of 25%, it becomes a larger issue.
The definition of binge drinking is having four or more drinks in one sitting for women and five or more drinks in one sitting for men, in the past 30 days. Part of the reason why binge drinking is so high in Morris County could be the number of alcohol outlets, which is approximately 473 outlets. Perception of risk is also low. The combination of outlets and low perception of risk heavily results in not only binge drinking, but also underage drinking.
Why is underage drinking so dangerous? People often question why the drinking age in the United States is 21, where in other countries it’s 18, but the brain does not stop developing until early to mid twenties. Harm to the brain during the development stages is much worse and can be irreversible. According to the CDC each year, there has been on average: 492 suicides in underage people that have been related to alcohol; 1580 motor vehicle crashes that result in death due to underage drinking; 245 deaths due to drowning, alcohol poisoning, or falling because of drinking; and 1269 homicides where the person was underage drinking. This is a total of 4358 deaths, on average, each year due to underage drinking.
CCSHM is working with New Jersey to raise awareness of the risk of underage drinking in Morris County and working to prevent the sales and consumption to underage persons. Currently, CCSHM has been handing out tool kits to all different types of liquor outlets – restaurants, bars, liquor stores, etc – that include a 2018 ID book, a black light, and some more information on encouraging people to always check ID.