Medical Moment: Alcohol-related deaths on the rise, CDC says

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:38 PM EST
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(WNDU) - You hear a lot about the dangers of tobacco and an unhealthy diet. However, alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Now, a report shows 32 people in the U.S. are killed every day in crashes involving a drunk driver.

That’s one death every 45 minutes.

Americans are not strangers to alcohol. But that CDC report shows that drinking too much might be even more harmful than some realize.

The four-year study found that one out of eight deaths that occurred in adults ages 20 to 64 were due to injury or illness caused by excessive alcohol use. Among those aged 20-34, one in four deaths was attributable to drinking! Over-use of alcohol can increase the risk of harmful events, such as motor vehicle crashes, drownings, falls, violence, suicide, alcohol poisoning, and risky sexual behaviors. It’s also been linked to illnesses like liver disease, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive issues, memory problems, and depression. Though quitting isn’t always easy.

“We can see through the research that people can spend 10 years from the moment they wake up and think, ‘Ugh, is there something wrong with my drinking?’ until actually stopping,” said Veronica Valli, a sober coach and author of “Soberful.”

According to Harvard Health, if you’re trying to curb your drinking habits, you might want to: set a drinking limit goal, write down all the benefits of cutting back, eliminate all alcohol from your home, and keep a diary of your behaviors. And, most importantly: get support!

“The number one thing is don’t do it alone,” Valli said. “Community is so important.”

The largest recent study in England found that 16 to 25-year-olds were the most likely not to drink at all. However, according to the 2019 national survey on drug use and health, about 70% of people of all ages reported that they drank alcohol in the past year, and 55% reported that they drank in the past month.