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Soused at the bar-20% admit to binge drinking

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Downtown Brooklynites are getting their drinking under control.

A recent city Health Departmen Community Health Profile for Northwest Brooklyn, which includes Downtown, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope, and Red Hook, revealed that 20 percent of adults admitted to binge drinking. That raised eyebrows since the figure for all Brooklyn adults was 12 percent.

But new statistics in the latest Community Health Survey shows that fewer of the neighborho­ods’ residents are hitting the bottle.

According to the data posted on the Health Department’s Web site, www.nyc.gov/health, 17.7 percent of Northwest Brooklyn’s adults reported binge drinking, which is defined as having five or more drinks on one occasion.

Also, just 6.4 percent of the area’s residents admit to heavy drinking, which the Health Department lists as consuming more than two drinks per day for men and more than one drink per day for women.

While the figures are lower than those from previous years, they remain higher than those for most other Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Health Department officials say socioeconomic factors might be responsible.

“We do see a direct relationship with the income level in the community and the level of drinking that happens in that community,” explained Daliah Heller, Health Department’s assistant commissioner for chemical dependency. “Drinking prevalence goes up with the level of income. Why that happens, we don’t really know.

But there are theories.

“You could theorize that people have more money to spend or maybe more free time because they don’t have to work multiple jobs and they are not juggling more time-consuming, difficult issues that poorer people have to deal with,” Heller said.

Or, “It might be a cultural issue. It might be a way people manage stress. It might be a social issue with men. It’s a varying thing,” she continued.

There could be serious consequences for people who consume several alcoholic drinks in one night.

“Binge drinkers are three times more likely than non-drinkers to report having multiple sex partners,” Heller said. “We know that when people have more sex partners, they are more at risk for STDs and really, ultimately, HIV infections.”

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