Stats and Facts about Drinking on New Year’s Eve

The holiday season officially winds down with one last hurrah on New Year’s Eve. Traditionally, the change from the old year to the new year is celebrated at midnight with a champagne toast; however, many people gather for parties and social events for hours before and after ringing in the new year.

Over-consumption of alcohol on New Year’s can lead to personal injury and many other harmful consequences.

Here are the most common alcohol-related problems frequently seen on New Year’s Eve and Day.

Why is Alcohol Such a Problem on New Year’s?

In the US, social events often involve social alcohol consumption; the central nervous system depressant lowers inhibitions and allows people to relax. However, when a person consumes too much alcohol–typically when their liver does not metabolize alcohol as quickly as the person drinks, and the excess alcohol stays in the bloodstream until it can be processed–it may cause serious health effects. Alcohol poisoning is a serious problem, but other dangers include poor decision-making, which can lead to drunk driving; blacking out; and other health problems.

According to TIME Magazine, New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year due to drunk driving and alcohol-related injuries and deaths.

Alcohol Poisoning and ER Visits

Binge drinking is a serious problem for many people over the course of the year, but it gets worse during the holiday season, especially on New Year’s Eve. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in six American adults binge drinks four times per month, averaging eight drinks in a binge drinking period.

Binge drinking is a common problem among people ages 18-34, and also among people age 65 and older; in fact, older adults binge drink an average of 5-6 times per month. Men typically binge drink more than women, but recent numbers show that women are beginning to binge drink more often.

According to 2020 data published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 12,966,000 people between 12 and 20 years old have consumed alcohol, despite it being illegal to do so.

Predictably, many underage people drink to celebrate the New Year as well: In 2009, the number of underage people treated in the ER for alcohol-related injuries and alcohol poisoning spiked by more than 250%. While this represented a bad year for underage drinkers, it highlights a consistent jump in ER visits during this time.

With more people drinking, more people suffer alcohol poisoning. The hospital at the University of California, San Francisco reported in 2011 that the number of ER visits due to alcohol poisoning around the holidays rose, with an overall 50% increase in holiday ER visits in 2011, UCSF found that 70% of those were specifically due to alcohol poisoning.

New York City noted in 2015 that alcohol-related ER visits more than doubled on New Year’s Day, compared to the average over the rest of the year. Many of these were due to drunk driving, but many were caused by alcohol poisoning.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion or delirium
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced, irregular, or slow breathing
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold, clammy, or blue skin
  • Falling unconscious or passing out

People who begin to suffer alcohol poisoning need emergency medical attention. They may not display all of these symptoms, but even noticing one or two means the person is beginning to suffer a potentially deadly medical issue. Call 911 immediately.

Drunk Driving Accidents

AAA keeps statistics of traffic patterns, especially around the holidays, and the travel organization notes that about 95 million Americans hit the road around Christmas and New Year’s Day every year. Because so many people rely on vehicles to get them to and from events with friends and family, the risk of being in a car accident is much higher anyway. When holiday revelry is added to traffic, drunk driving accidents go up.

Holidays in general lead to a spike in alcohol consumption, and New Year’s Eve, traditionally celebrated with champagne toasts and excessive alcohol consumption, is one of the deadliest. The National Safety Council notes that 36 % of driving deaths on the highway during the New Year’s holiday in 2019 were alcohol-related.

Alcohol and Other Health Problems

Alcohol can lead directly to physical danger, but there are other issues linked to increased alcohol consumption, which tends to happen around holidays like New Year’s Eve.

Serious memory problems may occur with excessive drinking. When a person drinks too much alcohol and is intoxicated, this is typically referred to as “blacking out.” However, this phenomenon can occur with a blood alcohol concentration as low as 0.1%. While this is well over the legal driving limit of 0.08%, it is a level that many people can hit quickly while socializing at a holiday gathering. Once BAC reaches 0.2%, there is a 50% chance that the person will black out and forget the evening.

Even if a person does not drive while drunk, they are at an increased risk of hurting themselves while intoxicated. They are more likely to fall and cause bodily injury. Reduced inhibitions may lead to unprotected or nonconsensual sexual contact. People with chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease may find these conditions triggered, which could lead to a visit to the emergency room.

Binge drinking is a serious problem around holidays like New Year’s Eve, but it is only one type of problem drinking. People who binge drink consistently, people who feel like they need alcohol to feel normal, or people who feel like they are not able to stop drinking, even when they want to, may struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD). This condition can lead to long-term health problems and a lower quality of life. Fortunately, this condition is treatable.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Many people with AUD need medical supervision to detox safely from alcohol use and then enter a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation programs may involve different levels of addiction treatment and various kinds of behavioral therapy. Therapeutic treatment can help patients maintain long-term recovery by helping them:

  • Avoid situations that lead them to drink.
  • Learn better coping mechanisms for stressful events in life.
  • Mend relationships.
  • Build a sober support network.
  • And more.

It is possible to live a healthy, sober life, thanks to evidence-based advances in addiction rehabilitation programs. If you are ready to enter a medically supervised and comprehensive alcohol rehab center in New Jersey, contact Sunrise House Treatment Center today at .

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