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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Alcohol Deaths In U.S. Rising, Government Warns

The rate of deaths that can be directly attributed to alcohol rose nearly 30% in the US during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new government data, Mike Stobbe reported for the Associated Press (AP).

Photo Insert: Examples of deaths wholly blamed on drinking include alcohol-caused liver or pancreas failure, alcohol poisoning, withdrawal, and certain other diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had already said the overall number of such deaths rose in 2020 and 2021. Two reports from the CDC this week provided further details on which groups have the highest death rates and which states are seeing the largest numbers.

“Alcohol is often overlooked” as a public health problem, said Marissa Esser, who leads the CDC’s alcohol program.

“But it is a leading preventable cause of death.” A report released Friday focused on more than a dozen kinds of “alcohol-induced” deaths that were wholly blamed on drinking. Examples include alcohol-caused liver or pancreas failure, alcohol poisoning, withdrawal, and certain other diseases.

There were more than 52,000 such deaths last year, up from 39,000 in 2019.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

The rate of such deaths had been increasing in the two decades before the pandemic, by 7% or less each year. In 2020, they rose 26%, to about 13 deaths per 100,000 Americans.

That’s the highest rate recorded in at least 40 years, said the study’s lead author, Merianne Spencer. Such deaths are 2 1/2 times more common in men than in women, but rose for both in 2020, the study found.

Health & lifestyle: Woman running and exercising over a bridge near the financial district.

The rate continued to be highest for people ages 55 to 64 but rose dramatically for certain other groups, including jumping 42% among women ages 35 to 44.

The second report, published earlier this week in JAMA Network Open, looked at a wider range of deaths that could be linked to drinking, such as motor vehicle accidents, suicides, falls, and cancers.

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