Study: Alcohol-related deaths increasing in the United States

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A new study found that nearly 1 million people died from alcohol-related causes between 1999 and 2017.

Researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism analyzed U.S. death certificate data for the study.

The number of death certificates mentioning alcohol more than doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017.

In 2017, alcohol played a role in 2.6% of all deaths in the United States.

Alcohol-related deaths increased more for women, 85%, than men, 35%, over the study period. Researchers noted that the findings come at a time of growing evidence that even one drink per day of alcohol can contribute to an increase in the risk of breast cancer for women.

Women also appear to be at a greater risk than men for alcohol-related cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, alcohol use disorder, and other consequences.

“Alcohol is a growing women’s health issue,” said NIAAA Director Dr. George Koob. “The rapid increase in deaths involving alcohol among women is troubling and parallels the increases in alcohol consumption among women over the past few decades.”

The researchers also found an increase in alcohol consumption as well as alcohol-involved emergency department visits and hospitalizations during the same period.

“The current findings suggest that alcohol-related deaths involving injuries, overdoses, and chronic diseases are increasing across a wide swath of the population,” said Dr. Koob . “The report is a wakeup call to the growing threat alcohol poses to public health.”

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