Gallatin County Leads State in Binge and Heavy Drinking
According to data from countyhealthrankings.org, Gallatin County leads the state of Montana when it comes to excessive drinking.
In Gallatin County, 26% of adults reported binge and heavy drinking. Park, Custer, Hill, and Powell counties tied for 2nd.
The data was collected using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a state-based random digit dial telephone survey that is conducted annually in all states.
The data used to find the ranking is from 2018, so it doesn't reflect an increase or decrease in excessive drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have a couple of beers after work, that isn't considered binge drinking. If you down a fifth of alcohol every day, you may have a problem. Binge drinking is defined as a woman consuming more than four alcoholic drinks during a single occasion or a man consuming more than five alcoholic drinks during a single occasion. Heavy drinking is defined as a woman drinking more than one drink on average per day or a man drinking more than two drinks on average per day.
Nearly 1 in 6 U.S. adults are considered binge drinkers, and with Montana's long winters, it's no surprise that people drink a lot in the state. I have quite a few friends in the Bozeman area that drink quite a bit on a daily basis.
Montana State University is also located in Gallatin County. Bozeman is a college town, and college kids like to drink. However, there isn't any evidence that college kids are responsible for Gallatin County being ranked number one.
Aside from having its fair share of heavy drinkers, Gallatin County is among the healthiest counties in Montana. For more information about the data and how it was collected, click here.