Why Are More People Dying From Alcohol?

Published on: February 04, 2020. Updated on: October 20, 2020.

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Deaths related to alcohol more than doubled between 1999 and 2017 – and that only counts alcohol-related deaths documented in death certificates, which means the actual numbers could be much higher. While adults aged 45-74 had the highest rates of death related to alcohol, young adults aged 25-34 showed the biggest increases over time.

Women also saw an 85% jump in alcohol-related deaths over the study period, compared to a 35% increase for men - closing what was once a large gap in alcohol use and harms between men and women. While many of the deaths resulted from liver disease, researchers attribute the raise in deaths among middle-aged adults to “deaths of despair,” including overdoses and suicides.

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Aaron White, PhD, I-Jen P. Castle, PhD, Ralph Hingson, ScD, Patricia Powell, PhD. Using death certificates to explore changes in alcohol-related mortality in the United States, 1999–2017, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Published online January 8, 2020.

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