PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon Health Authority is asking people to re-imagine what alcohol abuse looks like in a new “rethink the drink” campaign.

The goal is to educate Oregonians on what harmful drinking looks like as health experts say excessive drinking surged during the pandemic.

OHA defines excessive drinking, including binge drinking, as five or more drinks for men and four or more for women at one time. Heavy drinking, which is also considered excessive, is defined as more than 15 per week for men and eight or more for women.

Officials point out that during the pandemic, home delivery of alcohol was expanded in Oregon and across the nation.

“With those changes to Oregon law, the education environment and tools available must evolve too,” said Dr. Reginald Richardson, Executive Director for the Oregon Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission. “That’s why this effort to start a new conversation about excessive alcohol use is so crucial.”

Officials highlighted the dangers of excessive drinking which can lead to an increase risk for cancer, liver failure, depression and heart disease.

Reducing alcohol use is a complex and important work for public health and while we’re talking in this campaign about individual behavior, we know our health choices are really determined by what’s around us, and how easy or difficult society makes it for us to take healthier choices,” said Rachael Banks, Oregon Health Authority Public Health Director.

Dr. Tom Jeanne, OHA’s deputy state health officer and deputy state epidemiologist, said while the alcohol industry provides thousands of jobs for Oregonians, “at the same time, excessive drinking carries heavy costs for all of us, whether we drink or not. It affects everyone from children and families to businesses and taxpayers. This effort encourages people to consider whether we could be handling alcohol use in different ways than we are now.”