Alcohol kills 88,000 a year in U.S.

It’s no secret that America’s favorite legal drug has vast impacts on public health. But just how closely binge drinking and overconsumption of alcohol are linked to deaths may come as a surprise.

One in 10 deaths of working-age adults every year is attributable to “excessive alcohol consumption,” according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a finding that keeps booze as “a leading cause of premature mortality nationwide.”

The 88,000 deaths annually from 2006 to 2010 included acute causes, such as violence, alcohol poisoning and car crashes, as well as the health effects of prolonged overconsumption of alcohol, such as liver disease, heart disease and breast cancer. Excessive drinking shortened the lives of the people who died by about 30 years each, for a total of about 2.5 million years of potential life lost.

Seventy-one percent of those who died were men.

The impact varied widely by state, from the 51 deaths per 100,000 people in New Mexico to the 19.1 in New Jersey. The only other state with more than 40 deaths per 100,000 people was Alaska, with 41.1. Researchers estimated that excessive drinking cost the United States about $224 billion in 2006.

For their report, the researchers defined excessive consumption as a binge of five or more drinks per occasion for men or four or more for women; 15 or more drinks per week for men or eight for women; and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than 21. Binge drinking, they said, is responsible for more than half the deaths and three-quarters of the economic costs of excessive drinking.

Alcoholic liver disease topped the list of all alcohol-related deaths, causing 14,364 a year. Next were motor vehicle crashes (12,460), suicide (8,179) and homicide (7,756).

The most recent similar study found that 75,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of life were lost in 2001, so things are not trending the right way. The authors note that if anything, these figures may be on the low side, because they are based on self-reporting that “may underestimate the true prevalence of excessive alcohol consumption.”

More in Local News

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Police looking for Lynnwood bank robber

The robber did not flash a weapon to the teller at a U.S. Bank.

Here’s how much property taxes will rise to pay for schools

The owner of a $350,000 home is looking at a property-tax hike of nearly $300 this year.

Everett man accused of causing his baby’s brain damage

He told police he shook his son to get him to stop crying, and the boy slipped out of his hands.

At one point she dropped out; now she’s graduation-bound

Anita Bradford-Diaz has had her share of setbacks, but they only seem to increase her motivation.

Employee threats caused lockdown at Arlington elementary

Arlington Police said all students and staff were.

Residents are helping turn Casino Road in a new direction

An initiative backed by a $700,000 grant goes to the community for solutions to the area’s challenges.

With an immigrant’s help, kids reach out to Filipino children

Marysville students drew and sent portraits. Thanks to a video, they got to see the reaction.

Live in Edmonds? Hate speeders?

Edmonds has $35,000 to address local residents’ concerns about speeding in their… Continue reading

Most Read