Rich Educated Men Drink the Most, Global Study Says

By May Wilkerson 06/08/15

The report also found a worrying increase in underage drinking.

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Hard-drinking Mad Men star Don Draper appears to have real-life company. Highly-educated, wealthy men are the heaviest drinking demographic in the world, according to a new study by the Organization of Economic Cooperation (OECD), while wealthy women and poor men are most likely to abuse alcohol or drink “hazardously.”

The report examined the effects of drinking, including health issues, workplace accidents and decreased economic productivity in countries across the globe. In some countries, alcohol use can stunt economic growth by up to 1%. In the U.S., this amounts to about $6.5 billion spent on health care and alcohol-related crime in 2014.

The report also found a worrying increase in underage drinking, especially among girls. For girls under age 15, nearly 41% admitted to drinking in 2010, up from 26% in 2001. And among boys of the same age group, the number increased from 30% to 43%. Among U.S. high school seniors, 20% admitted to episodes of binge drinking, which equates to consuming five or more drinks in one sitting.

When it comes to picking a poison, Americans love beer the most, while France, Portugal, and Italy prefer wine. In Russia, unsurprisingly, spirits like vodka are the most popular alcoholic beverage.

The report also laid out guidelines for helping countries to reduce harmful drinking, including recommending raising the price of alcohol. OECD believes raising alcohol prices can reduce drinking by about 1.7% for men who drink heavily and up to 6% for women who drink moderately.

But the alcohol industry, no big surprise, is opposed to raising prices, claiming the cost of booze doesn’t impact drinking trends.

Responding to the recent findings of the study, the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council said in a statement, "numerous studies, including [National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism] funded research, show that raising the price does not deter heavy alcohol abusers.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.