Alcohol is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate. Alcohol and alcohol-related incidents are killing more people in the United States than they did in the past 35 years.
According to new federal data, alcohol is rapidly increasing fatalities in the United States. The data indicates alcohol deaths among Americans is at the highest point in the past 35 years. In 2014, more than 30,700 American citizens died from alcohol-related causes. From a statistical perspective, there were 9.6 deaths due to alcohol consumption and directly-related causes per 100,000 people. This is a staggering jump of 37 percent compared to the figures observed in 2002.
What’s more concerning is the fact that alcohol and alcohol-induced causes, including alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, which are primarily caused by excessive alcohol use or abuse, are the only reasons for these fatalities. Deaths due to homicides, committed under the influence of alcohol, driving while drunk, or other incidents which can be “indirectly related” to alcohol use are specifically excluded from the tally, reported ABC Action News.
If these indirect causes were included, alcohol would emerge as one of the top killers in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual toll of deaths directly or indirectly caused by alcohol would almost touch 90,000. On average, six people died every day from alcohol poisoning in the United States from 2010 to 2012. Although the data accounts for alcohol poisoning, the report revealed that binge drinking killed about 2,200 Americans.
Duke University professor Phillip J. Cook added that alcohol consumption per capita has been on the rise since the late-1990s.
“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.”
The report is certainly an eye-opener for everyone since public health officials and experts have been largely focusing on overdose deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers. While deaths related to drug overdose have certainly risen exponentially in the past few years, last year was a turning point. In 2014, more people died from alcohol-induced causes (30,722) than from overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined (28,647), reported Pittsburg Post-Gazette.
According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of American adults who drink at least monthly rose from 54.9 percent to 56.9 percent, reported Philly. Incidentally, when the numbers are adjusted for age, the jump in deaths from alcohol shortens somewhat, indicated Cook. This is because older Americans are at a higher risk of dying from alcohol-induced causes, like cirrhosis. Moreover, America now has a considerably big older generation as compared to a few decades earlier.
Who is at the maximum risk? Needless to say, the heaviest drinkers are the ones that are at the highest risk of being killed by alcohol. Research conducted by Cook earlier reported that the top 10 percent of American adults consume the lion’s share of alcohol. Heavy drinkers can down about 74 drinks per week, it noted.
If one considers the gender parity, men are more likely to die from alcohol-induced causes than women. Around 76 percent of people killed from alcohol poisoning are men, according to the January 2015 report, reported the International Business Times. But alcohol consumption among women is on the rise, and more women have taken up drinking regularly in recent years. The rate of women drinking at least once a month increased from 47.9 percent in 2002 to 51.9 percent in 2014, stated the report. Incidentally, just like men, women too, are increasingly indulging in binge drinking. Additionally, 17.4 percent of women reported drinking five or more drinks on at least one occasion in 2014, up from 15.7 percent in 2002.
Despite numerous studies suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption can help in reducing mortality, alcohol is killing at a high rate, suggested the study.
[Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]