Alcohol-Related Deaths On the Rise in Recent Years: CDC Report

More than 178,000 alcohol-related deaths occur every year in the United States, according to CDC researchers, which call for increasing alcohol taxes or reducing availability of alcohol delivery services that emerged during COVID-19.

The number of Americans dying from alcohol-related reasons has increased by 30% since 2016, according to a new federal study, which indicates that more evidence-based policies need to be established to reverse the trend.

Nearly 500 people died every day due to alcohol-related reasons in recent years, with the most significant spike in deaths occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC researchers used data from the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Application to estimate the average yearly number of deaths from excessive alcohol use in the United States. The data was based on 58 alcohol-related causes of death during three periods: 2016–2017, 2018–2019, and 2020–2021.

Researchers focused on 58 related causes of death linked to alcohol. The top causes included increased binge drinking, alcohol dependence syndrome–or addiction–, and alcohol poisoning.

Other conditions less directly linked to the deaths include an increase in breast cancer, heart disease, and car crashes caused by driving while under the influence. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also increase a person’s risk of suffering from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

Rising Alcohol-Related Deaths

The findings indicate deaths linked to alcohol use increased dramatically over the past two decades, especially from 2019 to 2020, coinciding with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alcohol-related deaths increased by 29% from 2016 to 2021, according to the data, which detected an increase from nearly 138,000 deaths per year to more than 178,000 deaths per year, which is roughly 500 deaths per day.

The rate of deaths linked to alcohol among men increased by 27%, rising from 94,000 per year to more than 119,00 per year. Among women, alcohol-related deaths increased 35%, according to the data.

While the rate of increase was higher among women compared to men, overall, fewer women died from alcohol-linked deaths, rising from roughly 43,000 annually to more than 58,000 per year.

Similarly, emergency room visits linked to alcohol use also increased during the pandemic.

Alcohol Deaths Linked to Pandemic Stress

Researchers said the rise in deaths and ER visits is connected to a combination of increased stress due to pandemic restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and increased access to home delivery of alcohol.

The combination of the pandemic factors created a scenario of tension, stress, and convenient outlet during a time of restriction, the researchers concluded.

More people also used marijuana and hallucinogens during this time. Additionally, they used these substances in combination with alcohol.

The data indicates that binge drinking also reached its highest rate in decades during the pandemic. The number of people binge drinking, consuming five or more drinks in a row, increased to 29% in 2022, up from 23% in 2012.

Researchers warn the need for intervention policies is at its highest. These might include reducing the number of places that sell alcohol, increasing taxes on alcoholic products, and reducing access overall by rolling back pandemic-era access to delivery and other methods of easily acquiring alcoholic products.

The researchers also recommended doctors be educated on how to achieve effective intervention for patients who overuse alcohol or may be at risk of alcohol dependence, including learning how to ask patients if they abuse alcohol, which may lead them to open up.

Media campaigns to support efforts to drink less and campaigns to increase awareness of the risks of drinking may also help reduce alcohol use and deaths linked to alcohol use, the researchers advised.


Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories