Today, Washingtonians purchase more alcohol on a per capita basis than any state except New Hampshire, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nearly a quarter of District residents are binge drinkers, defined as consuming more than five drinks in an evening; that is the second-highest rate in the nation, behind North Dakota. And Washington bears higher economic costs of problem drinking than any other state, according to the CDC calculations.
A part of the higher rates comes from the high-stakes nature of government jobs, and from professions with a large presence in Washington, said Aaron White, the senior scientific adviser to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Lawyers, plentiful in Washington, tend to drink more than those in other professions.
“We know that high-powered jobs, high income, that is a risk factor for excessive drinking,” White said. “You have a lot of people in powerful, high-paying jobs downtown. People with money and stressful jobs tend to drink more.”
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