Alcohol Related Deaths Per Year
Drinking too much can cause serious health problems, and even death. In fact, according to federal data, alcohol related deaths per year in the United States have risen dramatically since the early 2000s, and reached a 35-year high in 2014. From 2006-2010, excessive alcohol use in the US accounted for 88,000 deaths per year, and shortened the lives of those who died by approximately 30 years. Further, alcohol-induced complications, such as alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, led to the deaths of 1 in 10 adults from the ages of 20 to 64. And these statistics don’t include motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. In 2014, alcohol-related driving fatalities accounted for 31% of overall driving fatalities, or 9,967 deaths.
After tobacco and physical inactivity, alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the US each year.
In 2010, the economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption were estimated at $249 billion, which works out to $2.05 a drink. Additionally, binge drinking accounted for approximately three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse.
Alcohol Use in the US
Of people aged 18 and over, 86.4% reported drinking alcohol at some point in their life, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Of these, 70.1% drank in the past year, and 56% in the last month. In the same year, 26.9% of people reported engaging in binge drinking in the past month, with 7% engaging in heavy alcohol use.
What is Excessive Drinking?
The CDC defines excessive drinking as heavy drinking, binge drinking, or any drinking by pregnant women or people under the age of 21. Binge drinking is defined by a single occasion – for women, this amounts to 4 or more drinks at one time, and for men, 5. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is consuming at least 8 drinks a week for women, or 15 for men.
The effects of alcohol are immediate and dramatically increase both short- and long-term risks of many health conditions. Binge drinking can lead to accidental injuries, violence, risky sexual behavior, miscarriage, and alcohol poisoning. And excessive alcohol use over time can cause chronic diseases and other serious long-term health problems. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, memory loss, mental health issues, social problems, and alcohol dependence.
By not drinking past your limits, you can reduce the risks of alcohol’s short- and long-term health risks, and you can help limit the number of alcohol related deaths per year.
Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
In 2015, alcohol was involved in 47% of the 78, 529 deaths caused by liver disease among people aged 12 and over. Among deaths caused by cirrhosis in 2013, 47.9% were related to alcohol. And in 2009, alcohol-induced liver disease was the primary cause of nearly 1 in 3 liver transplants.
Further, excessive drinking can dramatically increase the risks of cancers of the mouth, liver, breast, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, and liver.