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Mass. residents more likely to binge drink

Everyone knows college students binge drink - especially in fraternities - but what about young married couples in the suburbs with incomes over $75,000 a year? Or medical students? Or seniors? Those groups account for the highest frequency of binge drinkers along with young adult males, according to a report issued last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Relying on household surveys conducted in nearly all states, the CDC found that about 1 in 6 Americans binge drink, on average about four times a month. The agency defines a binge as four or more drinks on one occasion for women and five or more for a man.

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Massachusetts was one of the states with the highest rates of binge drinking with nearly 22 percent of adults saying they overconsumed alcohol - compared with a national average of 17 percent - and binged on average five times a month. The average number of drinks consumed in a single binge? About 7 1/2, slightly less than the national average of 8.

“A lot of people don’t think [binge drinking] is such a bad thing to do,’’ Dr. Robert Brewer, head of the CDC’s alcohol program, said in a press briefing. Half the alcohol consumed by middle-age adults in this country, he added, is in the form of binge drinks, whereas for college students and minors, it’s 90 percent.

Binge drinking increases the chances of hypertension and heart attacks as well as injuries related to alcohol-fueled car crashes, violence, and suicide attempts - accounting for 80,000 deaths every year at a cost of $223 billion, according to the CDC.

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