A new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published in Preventing Chronic Disease specifies that alcohol accounts for one in 10 deaths among working age adults and that excessive alcohol use leads to approximately 88,000 deaths per year from 2006-2010. The researchers estimated that there were 2.5 million years of potential lives lost each year, with nearly 70 % of deaths involving working class adults and males. The research data was obtained from the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) application for 2006-2010. ARDI provides national and state-specific estimates of alcohol-attributable deaths and years of potential life lost.
The deaths were attributed to health effects such as breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease; and health effects from drinking too much in a short period of time, such as violence, alcohol poisoning, and motor vehicle crashes.
“Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death that kills many Americans in the prime of their lives,” said Ursula E. Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “We need to redouble our efforts to implement scientifically proven public health approaches to reduce this tragic loss of life and the huge economic costs that result.”
Excessive drinking fur purposes of this study was defined as binge drinking (4 or more drinks on an occasion for women, 5 or more drinks on an occasion for men), heavy drinking (8 or more drinks a week for women, 15 or more drinks a week for men), and any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under the minimum legal drinking age of 21.
Excessive drinking cost the United States about $224 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006. Most of these costs were due to lost productivity, including reduced earnings among excessive drinkers as well as deaths due to excessive drinking among working age adults.
“It’s shocking to see the public health impact of excessive drinking on working-age adults,” said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., head of CDC’s Alcohol Program and one of the report’s authors. “CDC is working with partners to support the implementation of strategies for preventing excessive alcohol use that are recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, which can help reduce the health and social cost of this dangerous risk behavior.”
Mandy Stahre, Jim Roeber, Dafna Kanny, Robert D. Brewer, Xingyou Zhang. Contribution of Excessive Alcohol Consumption to Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States. Preventing Chronic Disease, 2014; 11 DOI: 10.5888/pcd11.130293