One in 10 adult deaths due to excessive drinking

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found excessive alcohol consumption accounts for one in 10 deaths among working-age adults.

Excessive alcohol consumption includes binge drinking (five or more drinks on an occasion for men; four or more for women), heavy weekly alcohol consumption (15 or more drinks per week for men; 8 or more per week for women), and any drinking by pregnant women or those younger than 21 years.

Excessive alcohol use led to about 88,000 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by about 30 years, according to the report.

The deaths were due to the health effects from excessive drinking over time – such as liver disease, heart disease and breast cancer – and drinking too much in a short period of time – such as violence, alcohol poisoning and vehicle crashes.

The alcohol-attributed death rate ranged from 51 deaths per 100,000 people in New Mexico to 19.1 deaths per 100,000 in New Jersey.

The rate in Washington is 29.2 deaths per 100,000 people – slightly above the national rate of 27.9 deaths.

Nearly 70 percent of deaths due to excessive drinking involved working-age adults (those 20 to 64 years old) and about 70 percent were males.

“Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death that kills many Americans in the prime of their lives,” said Ursula E. Bauer, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in a news release. “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 alcohol use is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States and cost $223.5 billion (or about $1.90 per drink) in 2006, according to the report.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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