U.S. Deaths from Alcohol Hit Record Levels

Sunday, December 27, 2015
(AP photo)

Just in time for New Year’s Eve, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put a damper on your party with the news that alcohol-related deaths have climbed 37% since 2002.


In 2014, according to the CDC, 30,700 people died from alcohol-related causes, or 9.6 deaths per 100,000 population. That doesn’t include those killed in traffic accidents or homicides in which alcohol was a factor.


“Since the prevalence of heavy drinking tends to follow closely with per capita consumption, it is likely that one explanation for the growth in alcohol-related deaths is that more people are drinking more,” Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor who studies alcohol consumption patterns and their effects, told The Washington Post.


Age has something to do with it. Cook pointed out that the U.S. population as a whole is aging and older people have a greater risk factor for cirrhosis and related diseases.


But Americans are drinking more. According to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the percentage of the U.S. population who drinks at least monthly increased from 54.9% to 56.9% from 2002 to 2014. That includes an increase among women from 47.9% to 51.9% over that period.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Booze Blues: CDC Finds That a Record Number of Americans Are Drinking Themselves to Death (by Jessica Goldstein, Think Progress)

Americans are Drinking Themselves to Death at Record Rates (by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post)

Excessive Drinking Costs U.S. Economy $250 Billion a Year (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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