Oregon Health Authority launches campaign to fight excessive drinking

MEDFORD, Ore. – The Oregon Health Authority has launched a campaign to fight excessive drinking.

The “Rethink the Drink” campaign aims to educate and inform people about how much alcohol they are consuming.

“One in five Oregonians is drinking excessively,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne of OHA. “Its the third leading cause of preventable death in the state of Oregon.”

Oregon is the first state in the country to launch a statewide campaign to help curve excessive drinking.

The campaign is targeted at adults aged 21 and older with the goal of teaching the public about the harms of drinking excessively. 

“This campaign is really hoping to have people look at how they are drinking,” said Josephine County prevention coordinator Shawn Martinez. “It’s not designed to say don’t drink. It’s let’s rethink how we are drinking.”

According to the CDC, excessive drinking can defined as both heavy drinking and binge drinking.

OHA says this excessive consumption can lead to numerous health risks such as cancer, liver disease and high blood pressure.

“A lot of people kind of understand what binge drinking is, but that’s basically in one session where a woman would have four or more drinks or a man would have 5 or more drinks,” said Jeanne. “Another is just what we call heavy drinking. And that can really like binge drinking can harm your health long term.”

Over 2,000 people die each year from excessive alcohol use just in Oregon.

According to data collected by OHA from 2016-2019, out of those surveyed in Jackson c=County who consumed alcohol, 15.2% said they binge drink and 7.9% are heavy drinking.

In Josephine County, those number are lower with 12.8% binge drinking and 8.5% heavy drinking.

“The end result is to decrease the deaths and the risks associated with alcohol use,” said Martinez.

OHA’s hope is to get the word out through social media and various advertisements about how people can tame their alcohol consumption.

“Keeping track of how many days you’re drinking, are you kind of getting into that binge drinking territory,” said Jeanne. “And then kind of setting a goal, setting limits for yourself. Deciding how many days of the week you plan to drink and how many drinks you plan to have.”

OHA launched the campaign in late June and is expected to end on Sept. 4.

For more facts about excessive drinking you can visit www.rethinkthedrink.com.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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