Member highlights risks for women and binge drinking

May 1, 2013

NASW News’ “Social Work in the Public Eye”

About one in eight women are binge drinkers, according to an article in The Independent Florida Alligator. NASW member Joan Scully, a licensed clinical social worker and a substance abuse coordinator at the University of Florida Counseling & Wellness Center, says in the article that the first step to recognizing binge drinking as an illness is to lower the stigma that comes with addiction. Even though males are more known for binge drinking, women are catching up, the article says. About 14 million American women binge drink — which means having six or more drinks in one sitting and drinking three or more times a month.

Joan Scully

For female binge drinkers, the chances of breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy are higher, the article says.

“You can’t find that label on a bottle of vodka or a bottle of wine,” Scully says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement cautioning that excessive drinking is a dangerous behavior that is under-recognized as a women’s health issue.  Scully says binge drinking needs the same level of social awareness that cigarette smoking has.

From the April 2013 NASW News.

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