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Alcohol use in U.S-Mexico border states

Alcohol use in U.S-Mexico border states

POSTED: Monday, June 30, 2014 - 7:18pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 30, 2014 - 7:23pm

The Borderland has a drinking problem -- and a UTEP professor is trying to find out why.

When it comes to drinking, some El Pasoans said binge drinking, having four or more drinks a day for men and three or more for woman, is routine.

“It's embedded into our brains that that's the way we should spend our money and that is the way we should go about the day, let me get paid on Friday and then 'turn up',” said Oliver Macias.

But others think it is who you surround yourself with.

“From what I have seen, it seems like a very El Paso thing to sit back and talk with your friends, nobody is looking to get too wild, as far as I can tell," said Will Morrissey.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heavy drinking has picked up in the Borderland.

Every weekend, hundreds of El Pasoans head to bars, most just looking to let loose from the week. Officials say that is fine, it's when people start to binge drink that problems happen.

"We know it is that kind of drinking, that drinking pattern that is commonly associated with most of the public health problems associated with drinking,” said UTEP Associate Professor, Craig Field.

Last week the CDC released the results of a new study ranking New Mexico as the top state in the nation for alcohol related deaths.

Other border states, Arizona and California, also made the top ten -- and Texas came in at number thirteen.

Field said he isn't surprised by the numbers.

“We know that among Hispanics, Mexican American men are among the highest risk for heavy drinking and even if they drink at levels that are similar to their non-Hispanic counterparts, they are still more likely to experience problems,” he said.

Feld was awarded $1.9 million in grants to study the relationship between binge drinking and Latinos along the border.

He said one of the goals of the study is to help people reduce the amount of alcohol they drink.

“We work with patients, community leaders, medical care providers, and try and strengthen the results we have found there and reduce alcohol problems among Hispanic men," said Field.

A tall task -- and one Field said will take time.

He said his current research is a follow up to a study about how motivational interventions work among certain groups. Field didn't say how long this new study will last.

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