Report: Horry County has one of the highest binge drinking rates - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Report: Horry County has one of the highest binge drinking rates in SC

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County ranks as one of the top counties in the state when it comes to both binge drinking and
heavy drinking, according to newly released data.

Whether it's from the liquor store or at the bar, about 19 percent of Horry County residents qualify as binge drinkers, which is classified as 4 drinks in one sitting for women and 5 for men, at least once a month.

The county numbers are higher than both the state and national averages.

The information comes from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation.

To be considered a heavy drinker, a woman consumes at least one drink every day, and a man drinks at least two.

About 9 percent of people who live in Horry County are identified as heavy drinkers.

What's interesting, looking at the map that shows different counties, the coastal South Carolina counties are heavier drinkers than inland counties.

Jason Klocker, owner of Klocker's tavern, said a higher number of locals who drink comes with the territory of being a coastal vacation destination. "We live in an area that promotes that party," he said.

And people who live in the area, live the brand.

"And we're also… Horry County employs a much greater percentage of people in the service industry which revolves around drinking," Klocker explained. "I think when you look at that statistic, it makes people automatically go to college kids, or go to the 21 year olds."

Klocker added there's more to it than that.  Like retirees, who flock to the area. A drink or two for them, won't affect their work performance the next day.

"Enjoying their golf, their restaurants, their bars. Which Horry County...that's what we're trying to promote here in this part of the state."

The results also show twice as many men binge drink as women and significantly more are also heavy drinkers.

This is something Klocker says he sees every night.

Binge drinking and heavy drinking are associated with a number of health risks, including liver damage, high blood pressure and more.

An interactive map that shows and filters individual counties can be found here: http://www.healthdata.org/data-visualization/us-health-map

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