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Binge drinking has $105 million-per-year impact on La Crosse, says report



Student drinking down, but women over 50 drinking is up 

The impact on binge drinking in La Crosse County is $105 million a year, according to a new report.

The data comes from Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking coalition, which has for a decade in the community to combat excessive drinking.

“A good chunk of (the $105 million), about 70 percent, comes from loss productivity,” Brenda Rooney with Gundersen Health System said. “So, folks coming to work hungover or not showing up for work because of alcohol use.”

Drunk driving crashes have increased since 2007, while citations for illegal drinking have declined.

“We’ve seen a decline in our alcohol use for our high school students,” Rooney said. “Today about 1-10 high school students report binge drinking improvements over time, over the last 7-10 years.”

Rooney, who was part of the organization, says they’re seeing a heavy increase in women over 50 who drink heavily.

Possible reasons for that include “marketing campaigns towards them,” Rooney said. “Normalizing drinking large amounts of wine.”

Rooney said that although the coalition has ended, several other community partners have teamed up to continue its work.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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