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More women boozing now than ever: study

Drinking

Drinking Photo Credit: Getty Images

She'll have another -- make that three.

America’s women are hitting the bottle harder than ever, thanks to the pressures of work and family life combined with the increased acceptance of boozing, according to a study by Columbia University released Tuesday.

Overall, those born after World War II are abusing alcohol more than past generations, especially women, whose rates of alcoholism have steadily risen for decades.

“It seems like the introduction of more women into the workforce, and more upwardly mobile women – while that has many, very positive benefits to society, it's also reducing social sanctions on drinking," said Katherine Keyes, the study's lead author and Columbia University Epidemiology Merit Fellow. "Now it's becoming more and more acceptable for women to drink."

The fairer sex is even catching up to men when it comes to alcoholism.

Along with the increase in problem drinking -- there’s an estimated 14 million adults alcoholics in the U.S. -- more women are seeking out help, experts say. A typical Alcoholics Anonymous meeting 15 years ago may have had one or two women, whereas now the makeup is getting closer to 40% women, said Deni Carise, chief clinical officer of drug and alcohol rehab organization Phoenix House.

"There are many more women getting into recovery and utilizing support groups to stay sober, and that's good to see," she said.

The study, which will be officially published in December, also noted that the rise in women drinkers is strictly an American phenomenon, as numbers in Europe and Australia have remained essentially static.

The trend here has hardly gone unnoticed among the New York's barkeeps.

"It certainly has increased. I'm almost 60, and now I have seen women drinking a lot more," said Gerard Meagher, who has worked at Old Town Bar & Grill on 18th Street for 25 years. "Women are just more comfortable coming into the bar than they were 20 years ago.”


Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera

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