Drinking in Wisconsin raises eyebrows for some

Emma Carew

An article in today’s New York Times looks at the binge drinking culture in Wisconsin and raises some questions as to whether or not Wisconsin law enforcement is doing enough to reduce drinking related fatalities.

The article cites a CDC annual report, in which Wisconsin has been the top state for binge drinking for over a decade. It also looks at data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which show Wisconsin also leads the nation in drunk driving deaths. Under state law, drunk driving isn’t a felony until it’s your fifth, and Sconnie coppers can’t make you walk in a straight line or try to touch your nose to see if you’re sober.

But, hope and change could be coming.

The All-Wisconsin Alcohol Risk Education coalition, led by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, said their goal is to "dramatically change the laws, culture and behaviors in Wisconsin,” according to Dr. Robert N. Golden, the dean of the medical school.

Wisconsin also has a law allowing bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages to parents wishing to give them to their children, similar to laws in Europe aimed at teaching youth about responsible drinking. But it would seem this law isn’t doing its job. Kudos to Golden and the coalition, but they’ll certainly be fighting an uphill battle.