Substance abuse counselors concerned about Chippewa Valley drinking culture

Chippewa Falls (WQOW) – A study done by 24/7 Wall Street and shared by the USA Today on Facebook showed Eau Claire is the “2nd drunkest city in America.”

The study was initially completed in May, but the USA Today shared it again on Thursday and it is appearing on Facebook accounts across the Chippewa Valley.

The study shows Green Bay and Eau Claire number one and two on the list followed by Appleton and Madison. In fact, seven of the top 10 cities on the list are in Wisconsin.

But are these stats worth raising a glass to?

Staff at L.E. Phillips Libertas Center in Chippewa Falls say alcohol is a drug that is ripping apart families right here in western Wisconsin.

“This is not a statistic we want to be known for,” said Corina Fisher, a substance abuse counselor at L.E. Phillips. “Would we be proud of being the second highest city addicted to methamphetamines? Alcohol is a drug, and when used in excess, can be harmful and have devastating consequences.”

Another counselor at L.E. Phillips told News 18 it is time Wisconsinites rethink their views of alcohol, because for many it becomes a negative way of life.

“I think this speaks volumes to the nationwide denial on alcohol; the “acceptable” and encouraged drug in this culture,” said counselor Melissa Jackson. “We need to seriously rethink our view of alcohol as humorous and see it for what it is – a legal, addictive substance that creates lifelong dependence, tears families apart, burdens society, and causes death.  It’s insensitive to boast about being the most “alcoholic city in the nation” when there are so many out there who wish they could quit drinking but can’t, and to those who have lost their loved ones due to alcohol.”

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, alcohol is the most misused substance in Wisconsin.

In the latest numbers from 2015, alcohol was the factor in at least 2,008 deaths and 2,907 vehicle crashes.

So far in 2018, L.E. Phillips in Chippewa Falls has had 1,389 admissions for its detox program. This program includes a person being admitted, either voluntary or by an order. The person is monitored by medical professionals 24 hours a day until their bodies adjust.

L.E. Phillips has also had 173 admissions for its residential program and 4,493 outpatient visits this year.


Clint Berge

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire's Own WQOW News 18. Report any website issues to him at

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