Recently, New Hampshire has been rated the third highest state in the country with adults who have a drink at least once a month.
According to Detox.net, “The CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System completes over 400,000 adult interviews yearly, collecting data from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.”
A total of 64.3 percent of all adults in New Hampshire drink. That is a high percentage when looking at the lower states, like Utah, which has a 31.7 percentage.
“You can purchase beer and wine at gas stations in New Hampshire and there’s a ton of liquor and wine outlets all over the state, so no, I am not surprised,” sophomore and residential assistant Caitlin Watkins said. “Alcohol is everywhere you look. You have such easy access to it that it pressures people to drink.”
Melissa Chickering, senior staff member and alcohol and other drug (AOD) counselor on campus, said, “Do I think the state of New Hampshire has a substance abuse and drinking problem? Absolutely.”
Some states that have joined New Hampshire in the top five highest drinking states are Vermont and Minnesota; according to Detox.net, this is suggesting a possible connection between frigid winters and alcohol consumption, which previous studies have also observed.
Sophomore Lexi Palmer suggested teens turn to drinking for something to do. She said, “I think that there are a lot of small towns in the state and [there’s] not much to do, especially for younger people. Drinking serves as a form of entertainment that quickly becomes a habit.”
According to Detox.net, New Hampshire is also in the top five for having the highest rate of adult female drinkers; 60.5 percent of all females in New Hampshire have had at least one drink this month.
Detox.net stated, “[Four] million people across the globe found young female respondents drink nearly as much as their male counterparts and experience harmful outcomes (such as dependence) with virtually equal frequency.”
According to the study, college graduates, who were found most likely to drink at least one alcoholic beverage a month, were among the most prevalent binge drinkers and were only slightly less likely than those with some college or technical school experience to engage in heavy drinking.
Palmer said, “There is a huge drinking culture here that more than adequately reflects our state’s spot at number three on the list.”
AOD Counselor at KSC Chickering said, “I do think there is a drinking problem at Keene State, just like there is at many other colleges all over the country, I think that part of that has to do with the society we live in right now and this idea that when you are in your 20’s, it’s a right of passage in our society to get drunk or to drink a lot. I also think that there is a lack of services.”
In 2008, New Hampshire closed 11 treatment facilities across the state, and adolescent treatment no longer exists in New Hampshire, Chickering said. “If you are under the age of 18, you cannot get treatment for substance abuse in the state. The state of new Hampshire also actually made the decision to cancel any type of longer term substance abuse treatment, so you can get treatment really no longer than 30 days which is drastically different than most other states,” Chickering said.
Recently Keene State College lost their alcohol and drug abuse prevention coordinator, but according to Chickering, this has not stopped KSC from trying to help students fight alcohol abuse.
Chickering said, “There are a lot of good events that are going on on-campus. I think a lot of other campuses would have just forgotten about it, but that’s not happening here.”
Molly Spooner can be contacted at email@example.com