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Know the facts about alcohol

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During his presentation to the “Community Conversation” group, Garry Kelley, a New Mexico Department of Health Alcohol Epidemiologist, shared  some information about alcohol and how it affects McKinley County.

He explained that the new guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control recommend that men only consume two alcoholic beverages a day at maximum, and women should only consume one. Drinking is considered binge drinking when a man has five or more in one day and a woman has four or more.

After sharing that updated information, Kelley broke down statistics about McKinley County, comparing it to both the rest of New Mexico and the U.S. All these are statistics were gathered from New Mexico Department of Health surveys:

15.1% of McKinley County residents aged 18-34 reported binge drinking within in the past month; 18.9% of residents aged 35-49, 10.8% of people aged 50-64; and 2% of people over the age of 65.

In 2016, 21.2% of men in McKinley County admitted to binge drinking, while only 5.3% of women said they did. 20.7% of men reported binge drinking in 2021, and 6.2% of women said they had. In comparison, only 20.4% of men nationwide binge drink, and 10.7% of women nationwide said they do.

When it comes to underage drinking, 6.3% of McKinley County middle schoolers said they currently drink alcohol, while 7.6% of New Mexico middle schoolers said they do. For highschoolers, that number is 9.8% for McKinley County and 19.5% for the rest of the state.

2.3% of McKinley County middle schoolers admitted to binge drinking, while 3.5% of the rest of New Mexico middle schoolers said they participate in the activity. For high schoolers the numbers were 2.8% for McKinley County and 7.6% for the rest of the state.

In 2014, 0.7% of McKinley County residents admitted to drinking and driving. That number dropped to 0.6% in 2020. In New Mexico, 1.3% of residents reported that they’d driven drunk in the past in 2020. For the U.S., that number was up to 2.2% in 2020.

In 2013, 7.3% of public high school students in McKinley County said they’d driven drunk. That number dropped to 2.9% in 2021. Both New Mexico and the rest of the U.S. were at 4.6% in 2021.

By Molly Ann Howell
Managing Editor

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