The CDC revealed there is an increase in alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. The rate rose nearly 30% in the U.S. during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, two reports from the CDC provided further details on which groups have the highest death rates and which states are seeing the most significant numbers.
“Alcohol is often overlooked” as a public health problem, said Marissa Esser, who leads the CDC’s alcohol program. “But it is a leading preventable cause of death.” A recent report focused on more than a dozen “alcohol-induced” deaths blamed on drinking—for instance, alcohol-caused liver or pancreas failure, alcohol poisoning, withdrawal, and certain other diseases.
Alcohol-Related Deaths Rates
Last year, there were more than 52,000 alcohol-related deaths, and 39,000 in 2019. The rate has increased by 7% or less in the last two decades before the pandemic. In 2020, the rate rose by 26%. According to the study’s lead author, that is the highest rate recorded in the past four decades. These types of deaths are 2.5 times more common in men than women. However, the rate rose for both in 2020. The rate continues to be highest for people ages 55 to 64 but jumped 42% among women ages 35 to 44.
The second report was published earlier this week in JAMA Network Open and looked at a broader range of alcohol-related deaths. The deaths included motor vehicle accidents, suicide, falls, and cancers. According to data from 2015 to 2019, more than 140,000 of that broader category of alcohol-related deaths occur annually. CDC researchers say about 82,000 deaths are from drinking too much over a long time and 58,000 from causes tied to acute intoxication.
The study found that 1 in 8 deaths among U.S. adults ages 20 to 64 were alcohol-related deaths. New Mexico had the highest percentage, 22%, and Mississippi had the lowest, at 9%.