Online tool in Wisconsin shows alcohol use, consequences

A new online dashboard from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) shows that while fewer Wisconsin youth report drinking alcohol, adult binge drinking is higher than the national average.

The dashboards give a visual report on youth drinking, adult binge drinking and deaths attributed to drinking in Wisconsin, allowing users to filter information by various factors and see how the state compares to the rest of the country.

“These data dashboards tell us how important it is for all state residents to be mindful of how they use alcohol and how alcohol may impact their life, family, and community,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Understanding the health and safety consequences of alcohol use gives us an important tool to prevent the injuries and death that can result.”

The data shows that 65 percent of youth reported drinking in 2017, down six percent from the number of youth reporting drinking in 2011. Monthly alcohol use by youth in the past month is down too. In 2011, 39.2 percent of male youths and 30.4 percent of female youths reported drinking alcohol in the past month, but in 2017 only 30.4 percent of male youths and 29.8 percent of female youths reported drinking.

For adults, however, alcohol use is above the national average. Two out of every three Wisconsin adults reported using alcohol in the past month, and a quarter of Wisconsin adults reported binge drinking in the past month. Both rates are higher than the national average.

The number of alcohol-related deaths is up 22 percent, data shows. In 2014, data indicated there were 2,105 alcohol-related deaths, compared to 2,461 in 2018.

The new dashboards join other existing dashboards on county mental health services, county substance use services, drug overdose deaths, opioid use patterns and consequences, and opioid treatment as part of a multi-year initiative to make data available to the public in a more transparent way.

“We are committed to providing this data in an open, accessible way because it takes all of us, working together, to help people overcome challenges to becoming and staying healthy,” Palm said.