According to new data dashboards released by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), fewer Wisconsin youth report drinking alcohol, adult binge drinking is higher than the national average, and deaths attributed to alcohol in the state are increasing. The new dashboards utilize the most recently available data and focus on alcohol use patterns and consequences.

“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.”

There are three new data dashboards.

  • Alcohol Use: Youth Population
  • Alcohol Use: Adult Population (18+)
  • Wisconsin’s Estimated Alcohol-Attributable Deaths

The data show:

  • Fewer youth have ever used alcohol, down from 71% of youth in 2011 to 65% of youth in 2017.
  • Youth reporting alcohol use in the past month is down, with 33% of female youth and 28% of male youth reporting that they drank alcohol in the past month.
  • Two out of three Wisconsin adults reported using alcohol in the past month, which is higher than the national rate.
  • Almost one in four Wisconsin residents reported binge drinking in the past month, which is higher than the national rate.
  • The number of estimated alcohol-related deaths increased by 22%, from 2,015 deaths in 2014 to 2,461 deaths in 2018.

The data dashboards offer many ways to analyze the information presented to find trends based on demographics and regions.

Data dashboards on county mental health services, county substance use services, drug overdose deaths, opioid use patterns and consequences, and opioid treatment are also available on the DHS website. These tools are part of a multiyear DHS initiative to make behavioral health data more transparent and available to the public.

“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.

DHS partners with all counties, the 11 federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin, and other community-based agencies and organizations to provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services related to alcohol. This includes a new underage prevention campaign launched last month, Small Talks, which encourages parents and caregivers to have short, casual conversations with kids starting at age eight on the dangers of underage drinking.

People struggling with harmful alcohol use, or whose loved ones are struggling, can call the toll free Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline at 833-944-4673. This free and confidential service is staffed by trained specialists who offer information on local treatment services.

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