Health Department Expands Awareness Campaign About the Risks of Excessive Drinking

One in six New Yorkers drinks alcohol in excess

Campaign launches in time for St. Patrick’s Day, when the city sees a 20 percent increase in alcohol-related emergency department visits

March 17, 2017 – The Health Department today announced an expansion of the “Just One More Drink CAN Hurt” public awareness campaign, which reminds New Yorkers of the harms of excessive drinking and the actions that they can take to protect themselves and their friends from the unintended, dangerous consequences of alcohol use. In New York City, there are nearly 1,800 alcohol-attributable deaths every year and an average of 84,000 alcohol-related emergency department visits. According to the 2015 Community Health Survey, an average of one in six New Yorkers drinks in excess. The ads launch in time for St. Patrick’s Day, one of the most popular drinking days of the year, when there is a 20 percent increase in alcohol-related emergency department visits each year. The ads call on all New Yorkers to reduce the risks of excessive drinking. They will be on trains and subway stations, in newspapers, online and on the radio from now through the month of April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month.

“One in six New Yorkers drinks to excess. We want New Yorkers to protect their friends and family from the unintended, dangerous consequences of excessive alcohol use,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Step in before your friends have had too much to drink. You can prevent them from hurting themselves or others.”

One More Drink

According to the 2015 Community Health Survey, 1 million adult New Yorkers (17 percent) binge drink, including about one quarter of adults aged 18 to 24. White New Yorkers reported the highest rates of binge drinking, followed by Latino New Yorkers. Men are almost twice as likely as women to binge drink. Women are advised to limit themselves to no more than three drinks per occasion, and men should not have more than four drinks per occasion. Exceeding these limits is considered binge drinking.

“Real New Yorkers know that you don’t need to go binge drinking to have a good time, especially in New York. I’m glad the Health Department is expanding its public outreach about the health risks that those who drink too much pose to themselves and others,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee.

The health effects of excessive alcohol consumption are not limited to the individual drinker. In a 2012 Health Department survey, more than one in five New Yorkers reported being harmed due to someone else’s drinking in the past six months, ranging from unwanted sexual advances to having to take care of someone who had too much to drink.

One More Drink

By drinking within low-risk limits, New Yorkers stay healthy and safe. The Health Department offers the following tips for St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Be aware of how much alcohol you consume.
  • Be sure to eat before and while drinking. Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic drinks.
  • Avoid caffeine and energy drinks—these can mask the effects of alcohol and cause you to overdo it.

Alcohol misuse costs nearly $6 billion in citywide economic productivity losses each year in New York City. Health Department initiatives to help reduce excessive alcohol use include educating health professionals about the importance of screening and counseling, a strategy that is one of the most effective prevention interventions. The agency also supports community-based efforts to prevent underage drinking. The Department has issued guidance for health professionals and provides data and other information to community coalitions. The Department’s website offers lower-risk drinking guidelines and resources for New Yorkers.

One More Drink



MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Stephanie Buhle, (347) 396-4177