The city's Health Department has just released a study [pdf] on the drinking habits of New Yorkers, and what they found may not shock you. We like to drink, and apparently the amount of alcohol we consume on a regular basis is considered excessive, from a health perspective. The Health Department says that if you consume more than two alcoholic beverages a night, you are a "heavy drinker." And if you down more than five a night, that's "binge drinking." But keep pushing through to ten or more a night and you no longer suffer from low self-esteem.

According to the report, alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visits are increasing, the number of alcohol-related ED visits among New Yorkers aged 21 to 64 increased from
approximately 22,000 in 2003 to nearly 74,000 in 2009. And the number of alcohol-related ED visits by underage New Yorkers increased from more than 1,000 in 2003 to almost 4,000 in 2009. (It's unclear how many of these are Four Loko-related.) Also, one in ten hospitalizations in New York City is alcohol-related. The Health Department wants doctors to screen all patients for alcohol problems, and officials are asking regulators to do more to discourage child-friendly labeling and packaging of alcoholic beverages.

The sobering study also finds that "alcohol-related deaths are among the leading causes of death in NYC; in 2008, an estimated 1,537 NYC adults died of alcohol-related causes. These included deaths from chronic alcohol use, such as alcoholism, and deaths from acute alcohol use, such as binge drinking. Liver disease accounts for one fifth (22%) of all alcohol-related deaths and is the most common chronic cause." WHY MUST ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES?! Pour yourself a nice cup of herbal tea and peruse the report at your leisure, or simply ignore it and it will go away.