Huffpost New York

NYC Drinking Rate And Alcohol Related Hospital Visits On The Rise

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Judging by the city's livid reaction to rumors of Nanny Bloomberg limiting alcohol sales in January, New Yorkers enjoy their booze and will swiftly defend their right to it when threatened.

But according to new statistics, our penchant for booze may be getting the best of us, as the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations in New York have been steadily climbing since 2000.

The New York Times reports in 2009 the city saw 8,840 hospital visits stemming from alcohol consumption, a 36 percent increase since 2000. And over six years, alcohol-related emergency room visits for New Yorkers ages 21-64 have doubled to a staggering 70,000 in 2009, providing further evidence alcohol consumption is increasingly jeopardizing New Yorkers' health.

In another recent survey, the health department found more than 40 percent of New Yorkers who drink admitting to occasional binge drinking, with numbers rising to more than fifty percent for those underage.

In order attempt to combat the rising drinking rate, the city's health department released a series of subway ads with photos of partied-out New Yorkers, who had they abstained from a night of binge drinking would have been able to get themselves safely home.

Although quick to shoot down attempts to curb alcohol sales, some advocates point to these sobering statistics and say City Hall needs to finally crack down.

Reining in on booze may never be a popular decision, but some agencies see it as necessary. This past weekend, the Long Island Railroad enacted a trial ban on weekend drinking on trains in order to prevent "rambunctious behavior" routinely witnessed aboard the LIRR.

Regardless, the Bloomberg administration insists clamping down on the number of bars is not the way to approach the city's drinking problem. A spokesperson weighed in, "We’re deeply committed to encouraging entrepreneurs to start and expand small businesses in the city.”