By Rebecca Bishop and Yailka Cardenas

Binge drinking is the third leading cause of preventable death in the US. “Binge drinking” occurs when men consume five or more drinks in a short time period (about 2 hours), and when women consume four or more drinks in that period. This is the general number of drinks that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent or above.

According to the latest emergency department data available, alcohol emergency department visits rates have steadily increased over the last 5 years. With St. Patrick’s day coming up, remember the health consequences of binge drinking can include car crashes, violence, the spread of HIV and/or sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and alcohol dependence.

alcohol related emergency department visits

The US Dietary Guidelines on alcohol consumption recommend no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. Pregnant women and youth under 21 should not drink alcohol. The best place to start for change and/or improvement is with yourself: Choose not to binge drink yourself and when given the opportunity, encourage others not to either. If you are of legal age and you want to drink, do so in moderation.

In Boston, there are resources and solutions that exist in each neighborhood and community to help anyone who needs help. The PAATHS (Providing Access to Addictions Treatment, Hope and Support) Program is a one-stop shop for individuals and families looking for information about, or access to, substance abuse treatment and other recovery support services across Greater Boston.

The caring staff can help describe the different types of treatment available and make recommendations that best fit your needs. Staff can facilitate referrals and linkages to services, such as self help meetings, detoxification, transitional services and outpatient programs. We serve individuals and families over the age of 18 in need of information or services related to substance abuse and addiction—regardless of insurance status. Bilingual services and assistance with transportation are provided.

Addiction is a treatable disease. And there are many paths to recovery. For help finding yours, please call PAATHS at 1-855-494-4057 or walk into our location at 774 Albany Street Boston, MA 02118. PAATHS is open Monday – Friday 7 AM to 5 PM.  Please note: You must be registered by 3 PM.

Rebecca is the director of community mobilization and prevention and Yailka is a the manager of Access to Care. Both work in our Bureau of Addictions Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Support Services. Data compiled by Jennifer Evans and Noah Sosin.