Today in El Diario: Alcohol’s Deadly Toll


Drowning in drink

New Yorkers drink a lot, so there’s always a steady stream of hospitalizations and emergency room visits because of booze, and some of the city’s immigrant communities are leading the way, according to the Spanish-language daily.

In 2009, alcohol led to 70,000 emergency room check-ins for adults between the ages of 21 and 64. For people 12-20, the paper reports, more than 4,000 E.R. registrations stemmed from the sauce.

In NYC Vital Signs, a report put together by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, officials noted that Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona are the neighborhoods with the most alcohol-related hospitalizations, El Diario reports.

In Corona, one Alcoholics Anonymous group helps more than 130 people with drinking problems, many of whom are immigrants from Latin America.

“One time, I drank so much, I started a fight with some guys I didn’t even know, and they beat me up,” 23-year-old Alex, who’s been sober five months, told the daily. “I wound up unconscious and hurt, and I was in the hospital for a week. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done because of my alcoholism.”

Emilio, a 26-year-old immigrant who lives in Elmhurst, told the newspaper that he’s an alcoholism statistic. The young man didn’t eat or sleep — he just drank — but had to quit when his organs stopped working.

In the hospital, he said, “they told me that if I drank again, my pancreas would rupture — that if I kept boozing, I’d wind up dead.”

Gerardo, who’s lived in Jackson Heights over 16 years, told the newspaper, “During the week, I drank twelve beers a night. On the weekends, I drank until I fell over. I don’t know how I got home. I was like a cotton ball — absorbing so much alcohol. I was like a sponge.”

Now 34, Gerardo said that he now is sober because he has taken refuge in faith.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 11, 2011

Archive Highlights