Alcohol-Related Deaths Increasing in the United States

There has been a steady rise in deaths caused by alcohol, according to a study by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The research examined U.S. death certificate data from 1999 to 2017, classing deaths as alcohol-related if an alcohol-induced cause was listed as the underlying cause or as a contributing cause of death.

The team found that, in 2017, nearly half of alcohol-related deaths resulted from liver disease (31%; 22,245) or overdoses on alcohol alone or with other drugs (18%; 12,954). 

The most concerning rise in alcohol-related deaths was among people age 25-34 and the researchers found the increase to be greater for women compared to men.

Dr Koob, NIAAA Director, said:

“Alcohol is not a benign substance and there are many ways it can contribute to mortality,”

“the findings of this study and others suggest that alcohol-related harms are increasing at multiple levels – from ED visits and hospitalizations to deaths. We know that the contribution of alcohol often fails to make it onto death certificates. Better surveillance of alcohol involvement in mortality is essential in order to better understand and address the impact of alcohol on public health.”

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