Does Oregon Really Have the Fourth Highest Rate of Alcoholism?

  At least two Oregon media organizations have published results of a study that ranks Oregon as being the 15th “heaviest drinking state” and having the fourth highest level of alcoholism.  

Portland based Willamette Week published the story with the headline “Congratulations, Oregon You’re the 15th Drunkest State” on Jan.14 based on “a new study” from Safehome.org. Portland’s CBS affiliate Koin6 published a similar story,” Oregon 15th ‘heaviest drinking state,’ craft breweries a factor,” on Feb.11, also based on a “new study.”   

THE DARK SIDE OF DRINKING.  According to the KOIN 6 story, Oregon is not only ranked 15th in in alcohol consumption, but  also 5th in craft breweries per 100,000 residents.  More disturbing is Safehome.org’s conclusion that the Beaver State has the 4th highest alcoholism rate—at 7.87 percent—for residents 18 and older.    

In the study’s “Dark Side of Drinking” section Oregon rates third in people needing but not receiving treatment—7.5 percent and 5th in alcohol related deaths per 100,000 people at 21.2.  

Oregon media companies were not the only ones to publish the drinking study. In recent weeks, television, newspapers and magazine websites across the country have all run similar stories about where their state ranks in consuming alcohol based on Safehome.org’s findings.  

WHO IS SAFEHOME.ORG? Safehome.org list its sources for the study as the FBI 2018 crime data, the Center for Disease Control, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the The Brewers Association.    

 The online study, a single web page consisting mostly of charts and tables,  offers no information on the qualifications of those who conducted the study or even a date when it was completed.   

Safehome.org is a Los Angeles website focused on reviewing home security, medical alert and identity theft protection systems.  The reviews feature affiliate links to the product company’s web page.  Safehome.org earns money if a reader follows the link and makes a purchase.   

The drinking study is neither featured nor linked to on the site’s home page.   

By Larry Coonrod