U.S. Alcohol Deaths Keep Climbing
Alcohol is killing Americans at a rate not seen in at least 35 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2014, more than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes, including alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, which is primarily caused by alcohol use. There were 9.6 deaths from these alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, an increase of 37 percent since 2002.
This tally of alcohol-induced fatalities does not include deaths from drunk driving, other accidents, and homicides committed under the influence of alcohol. The CDC reported that if those numbers were included, the annual toll of deaths directly or indirectly caused by alcohol would be closer to 90,000.
Recently public health experts have focused extensively on overdose deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers, which have risen rapidly since the early 2000s. But in 2014, more people died from alcohol-induced causes (30,722) than from overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined (28,647).
The number of American adults who drink at least monthly rose between 2002 and 2014 – from 54.9 percent to 56.9 percent – according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The increase was most notable among women. The percent of women drinking monthly or more rose from 47.9 in 2002 to 51.9 in 2014. And the percentage of women reporting binge drinking – defined as five or more drinks on at least one occasion – rose from 15.7 to 17.4 percent over the same period.
One startling statistic from other research regarding the heaviest drinkers: the top 10 percent of American adult drinkers consume close to 74 drinks a week, on average.
Don’t miss this week’s Slice of History--the first “drunkometer.”