Health Encyclopedia


Health Encyclopedia Home

Most Alcohol-Linked Deaths Occur Among Working-Age Adults: CDC

Most Alcohol-Linked Deaths Occur Among Working-Age Adults: CDC

THURSDAY, March 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Americans' excessive alcohol use contributes to thousands of deaths each year, and the majority who die are working-age adults, according to a new government report.

More than two-thirds of these deaths and 80 percent of years of life lost come from the ranks of adults aged 20 to 64, said lead author Katy Gonzales, an alcohol epidemiologist with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

"It's really important to drive home that excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death," Gonzales said. "It really is right up there with tobacco and physical inactivity, especially among working-age adults."

The state-specific report, released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that, in the 11 states studied, alcohol caused a median of 1,650 deaths each year between 2006 and 2010. This equated to a median of 43,000 potential years of life lost, the researchers said.

The study used death-certificate and alcohol-consumption data from 11 states -- California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the CDC's March 14 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers ran the data through a computer model, using a list of 54 alcohol-related problems to calculate how drinking had contributed in general to these deaths, Gonzales said.

Accidental causes such as car crashes, firearm injuries, drownings, hypothermia and occupational injuries were included, as well as illnesses such as liver disease, cancer, stroke, pancreatitis, high blood pressure and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Men were significantly more likely to die of drinking-related causes than women.

In making its calculations, the model took into account diseases in which alcohol is a direct cause, such as alcoholic liver disease, as well as diseases in which alcohol serves as a contributing factor, such as high blood pressure or stroke.

New Mexico had the highest death rate from excessive drinking of the 11 states studied -- about 51 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 residents. Utah had the lowest, with 22.4 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000.

The most total alcohol-related deaths occurred among whites. Blacks, American Indians and Alaska natives, however, tended to have higher death rates linked to excessive drinking than other groups, the researchers found.

This is likely because poverty drives addiction, said Janina Kean, president and CEO of High Watch Recovery Center, a drug-rehab facility in Kent, Conn.

"There's more exposure to drugs and alcohol in the impoverished way that minorities in our country have had to exist," Kean said.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed with the researchers' conclusion that community-driven strategies are needed to reduce deaths caused in whole or part by alcohol.

"[These strategies include] holding retailers liable for injury or death related to alcohol sold to intoxicated persons and minors," he said. Glatter said he also supports steeply increasing the price of alcohol and significantly reducing the number of licenses issued to sell alcoholic beverages.

The United States also needs to confront the stigma it has regarding addiction, Kean said. Only 11 percent of people with an addictive disorder get treatment, compared with 77 percent of people with high blood pressure and 73 percent of people with diabetes, she said.

"We don't seem to understand that addiction is a brain disease," Kean said. "We don't blame people with diabetes or heart disease or cancer, but we seem to think people suffering from addiction have chosen to do what they do."

More information

For more information on alcohol abuse, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: Katy Gonzales, alcohol epidemiologist, Michigan Department of Community Health; Janina Kean, president and CEO of High Watch Recovery Center, Kent, Conn.; Robert Glatter, M.D., emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; March 14, 2014, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Related Items
  Alcoholic Beverages
Daily News Feed
  For Seniors, Unhealthy Living May Lead to Disability
  Growing Up Poor May Raise Odds for Smoking: Study
  Bump Seen in Substance Abuse Treatment During Pregnancy
  Women Tend to Seek Help for Alcohol Abuse Sooner Than Men
  Joint Alcohol-PTSD Treatment Appears Effective, Study Finds
  U.S. Troops' Suicide Risk Tied to Mental Illness, Not Combat: Study
  Diet Choices May Help Diabetics Stave Off Kidney Disease
  CDC: Heavy Drinking a Costly Burden to U.S.
  Certain Beer Brands Tied to More ER Visits, Study Finds
  Drinking Before First Pregnancy Raises Risk of Breast Cancer: Study
  Hundreds of Thousands of Teens Use Pot, Alcohol Each Day: Report
  Glass of Wine a Day May Ward Off Depression, Study Suggests
  Friends' Online Photos May Sway Teens' Behavior
  Young Americans' Prescription Med Abuse Still Down: Report
  Study Sees No Link Between Drinking During Early Pregnancy and Birth Woes
  Strong Verbal Skills in Childhood May Raise Drinking Risk, Study Suggests
  People's Beliefs on Drunk Driving May Change When They're Drunk
  Older Age May Mean Fewer Hangovers
  Intensive Substance-Abuse Treatment Fails to Deliver Better Results: Study
  Drinking Locations Factor Into Partner Violence, Study Says
  Drugged Driving Plays Major Role in Traffic Deaths
  Shape, Size of Wine Glass May Skew How Much You Pour
  Early Puberty Tied to Higher Odds of Substance Use in Teens: Survey
  Fake ID Use Tied to High-Risk Drinking by Underage Students
  Exercise Might Boost Men's Sperm Counts, Study Finds
  How Much Alcohol In Your Drink? Stronger Beverages Make It Tough to Tell
  Three-Quarters of U.S. Teens Say They Don't Drink
  Those Rocked by Recession Most Likely to Hit the Bottle: Study
  Holiday Health and Safety: Another List to Be Checking Twice
  Heavy Drinking Can Dry Up a Marriage If One Spouse Abstains
  State Laws Can Help Curb Binge Drinking, Study Says
  Kids' Social Skills May Suffer When Mothers Drink During Pregnancy
  Pot Smoking in Pregnancy Tied to Stillbirth Risk
  Drunk Driving Can Make Holiday Season Deadly
  Avoiding That New Year's Hangover
  CDC: Docs Aren't Doing Enough to Discourage Problem Drinking
  Students Smoke Weed Despite Drug Testing at Schools, Study Finds
  Easier Way for Doctors to Identify Substance Abuse?
  Heavy Drinking in Middle Age May Speed Memory Loss for Men
  'Buzzed' Drivers Who Are Under Legal Limit to Blame in Many Fatal Crashes
  College Drinking May Aggravate PTSD Symptoms
  Alcohol Tied to Domestic Violence on College Campuses
  Teens' Energy Drink Habit May Be Linked to Booze, Tobacco, Drug Use
  Study: Minimum Pricing for Alcohol Would Affect Poorer, High-Risk Drinkers
  Drug Might Help Heavy Drinkers Limit Their Booze
  Drinking Early in Pregnancy May Harm Placenta, Study Finds
  Legal Drinking Age of 21 Saves Lives, Review Finds
  Hangovers Don't Delay the Next Drink, Study Finds
  Binge Drinking May Double Older People's Risk of Dying
  Sexual Harassment Really Is Rampant in Bars, Study Finds
  Alcohol Near Start of Pregnancy Linked to Premature Babies
  Energy Drinks Popular With Troubled Teens, Study Says
  Older Drivers May Be Vulnerable to Just One Drink
  Drunk-Driving Deaths Under-reported in U.S., Study Says
  Can Exercise and an Occasional Drink Boost Eye Health?
  Parents' Addiction May Be Linked to Arthritis in Offspring
  Parental Messages That Stress No Alcohol Do Get Through, Survey Finds
  Could Coffee Lower Death Risk From Liver Cirrhosis?
  Booze Brands in Pop Lyrics May Spur Teen Drinking, Study Says
  Binge Drinking May Slow Wound Healing
  A Little Wine Might Help Kidneys Stay Healthy
  Smoking, Drinking Combo Raises Odds for Esophageal Cancer
  Tweens Who Play Sports Less Likely to Smoke: Study
  In Crashes That Kill Children, It's Their Driver Who's Often Drunk
  Alcohol Fuels Liver Disease in Those With HIV and Hepatitis C
  Resveratrol in Red Wine May Not Be Such a Health Booster, After All
  College Guys More Likely to Drive While Stoned Than Drunk, Study Finds
  Several Medications Can Help People Quit Drinking: Study
  Scientists Find More Genes Tied to Alcoholism Risk
  Pot Isn't Harmless, Top U.S. Health Official Says
  Underage Binge Drinkers Grab the Hard Stuff, Survey Finds
  1 in 10 Deaths Among Adults Tied to Alcohol: CDC
  Daughters Drink More Than Their Moms Did -- in Australia, at Least
  Teen Drinkers Risking Their Lives: Study
  Teens Drawn to Heavily Advertised Alcohol Brands: Study
  A Little Alcohol May Not Be Good for Your Heart After All
  College Alcohol Violations Often Draw a Slap on the Wrist: Study
  Gays, Lesbians Face Certain Health Challenges, U.S. Report Says
  Science Finds Way to Block Booze's Effect -- in Worms
  Energy Drink 'Cocktails' May Boost Desire to Drink More