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Binge drinking treatment is inadequate

According to a national addiction study, Wisconsin still ranks high for binge drinking. And treatment options don't meet the need. "Staggering" is how a Wisconsin public policy advocate describes the state's reliance on alcohol. According to the ...

According to a national addiction study, Wisconsin still ranks high for binge drinking. And treatment options don't meet the need.

"Staggering" is how a Wisconsin public policy advocate describes the state's reliance on alcohol. According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 22 percent of residents age 18 to 25 reported alcohol dependence or abuse from 2007 to 2008. More than half admitted to binge drinking, says David Reimer of Milwaukee Addiction Treatment Initiative, "and another thing that's equally disturbing is a very large percent of them don't have a perception that having five or more drinks -- which is the definition of binge drinking -- is risk."

Wisconsin increased penalties for drunk driving. And new laws increase insurance coverage for addiction and mental health. But regulators are still working out the details specifically, to what extent treatment's available. The federal survey shows 20 percent of those most at risk of an alcohol related death did not receive alcohol treatment.

According to the survey, 127,000 Wisconsin residents age 18 to 25 needed alcohol treatment between 2007-08, but didn't get it.

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