(NEXSTAR) — You may have an idea of how much alcohol your community drinks. But recently released data helps illustrate which areas in Oklahoma are and aren’t prone to excessive drinking.
Earlier this year, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released its 2023 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report, which is meant to raise awareness about factors that can impact health outcomes and disparities nationwide.
Researchers use numerous data points to determine the length and quality of life on a state-by-state basis. Among those factors is alcohol use, including reported excessive drinking.
To determine the rates of excessive drinking per state, researchers used self-reported data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system. For the 2023 report, the University of Wisconsin used data from 2020 — the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Excessive drinking encompasses both binge drinking (four or more drinks on one occasion for women, five or more for men) and heavy drinking (eight or more drinks a week for women, fifteen or more for men).
As a whole, Oklahoma had the second-lowest percentage of adults self-reporting excessive drinking at 14%, tying with West Virginia. Only Utah had a lower rate at 12%.
Among our neighboring states, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri tied for the most self-reported excessive drinkers at 20%. Texas had a slightly lower rate at 19%, followed by Arkansas and New Mexico, both of which had rates of 18%.
Overall, 19 states had an excessive drinking rate at or above 20%.
Wisconsin is home to the most self-reported excessive drinkers: 26% of adults in the state — which sports an MLB team named in honor of its beer brewing industry — self-reported excessive drinking.
While reviewing county-level data, researchers found that 16% of adults in nine of Oklahoma’s 77 counties reported excessive drinking. With the exception of Cleveland, those counties are all in the northern portion of the Sooner State: Ellis, Grant, Woodward, Woods, Alfalfa, Kay, Pawnee, and Noble.
There were four counties that had the fewest reported excessive drinkers, all with rates at 13%: McCurtain, Comanche, Adair, and Texas.
The interactive map below shows the rates reported per Oklahoma county. You can view a nationwide map here.
The University of Wisconsin also reviewed the number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths per state and county.
Though it has a relatively low rate of adults drinking excessively (18%), California had the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths at 5,185 between 2016 and 2020, according to data collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
While Oklahoma had a lower rate of adults drinking excessively, the state reported 881 alcohol-impaired driving deaths during the same period — the 22nd-highest in the nation, just behind Washington state at 892.
However, Oklahoma has the 8th-lowest percentage of driving deaths involving alcohol at 27%, tying with Iowa and Nevada.
Nationally, 27% of all driving deaths involved alcohol, according to the County Health Rankings.
“When consumed in excess, alcohol is harmful to the health and well-being of those that drink as well as their families, friends, and communities,” researchers noted.
A recent study published in the Journal of American Medicine found that more Americans are dying from alcohol-related deaths, especially women. Between 2018 and 2020, researchers say CDC shows mortality rates among men increased by 12.5%, Nexstar’s WPIX reports. Among women, that rate was almost 15%.