Citing new figures published by the Centers for Disease Control, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that “excessive drinking accounts for one in every nine deaths in Oregon.” That figure, it adds, puts our state on the wrong side of the national average, which is one death in 10.
Between drunk driving and other well-known alcohol-related risks the figure is, perhaps, less surprising than it might seem. It is worth noting that the study focused on the broad health risks associated with alcohol. While drunk driving was included it was not the sole focus of the research. According to OPB “The study looked at binge drinking, defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more for men, as well as heavy drinking, which is eight drinks a week for a woman and 15 for a man.”
The focus on binge drinking also highlights the importance of strict enforcement of Oregon dram shop laws. These extend responsibility for injuries and damage caused by a drunk person to bars, taverns and any business that sells alcohol. The dram shop rules are a reminder that cutting off someone who is drinking too much is everyone’s responsibility, not just that of the drinker himself or his companions.
On this blog I write frequently about Oregon drunk driving and the damage it does to people and families around our state, but this OPB report is an important reminder that the issue goes beyond driving and that, as OPB notes, “it’s not just college students who abuse alcohol.”
As a Portland drunk driving victim’s lawyer with special expertise in dram shop cases I recommend the OPB report (linked below) to anyone who shares my concerns about this issue.
Oregon Public Broadcasting: Study: 1 in 9 Oregon Deaths Involve Alcohol