El Paso,TX (KDBC) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more American women are binge drinking than ever before.
For most people, going out for drinks after work is nothing unusual. And while men have historically been heavier drinkers than women, the report suggests gender roles are reversing quick.
"That is a big problem in our community," said Guillermo Valenzuela, the Director of External Resources and Community Affairs for Aliviane Inc. in El Paso. Aliviane is a non-profit organization that provides substance abuse behavioral health services for the community.
Experts say single women between the ages of 18 to 34 years old are drinking more than men their age, and married women are drinking more than single women.
It's a trend El Pasoans are closely mimicking.
"The majority of the people we treat in Aliviane for substance abuse are here for substance abuse. The majority of women at our residential facility are there because of alcohol abuse," said Valenzuela.
"I think probably it's a direct result of the economic situation that we're in just because a lot of people don't have hope so they're using alcohol as an escape," said Ethan Ellenberg.
Critics blame advertisers who target young women through television and social media by marketing sweeter, 'low-calorie' drinks at affordable prices.
Experts say part of the spike in drinking has to do with more young women staying single longer, being in the 'party' scene, and working in more male-dominated industries where they have the money and feel the pressure to drink socially.
"People want to be seen, they want to drink, and they're doing it in more and more visible ways, and so sadly, I think it's having a negative public health effect," said Ali Boyd.
Health officials warn the public against binge drinking because it can cause serious health problems for women later on in life, or even result in death.
"You can call and ask for help. It's no different than treating any other illness," said Valenzuela.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that arrests for women driving while drunk are also on the rise.
If you or anybody you know in El Paso is experiencing a drinking problem, you can visit http://www.aliviane.org/  for more information.