CDC: Alcohol use is the nation's fourth leading cause of preventable death

88,000 deaths, millions of shortened life spans traced back to booze

Excessive consumption of alcohol was responsible for 88,000 deaths and millions of shortened lifespans between 2006 and 2010, making it the fourth-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to recent findings published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC: Doctors are ignoring America's drinking problem

The report, which examined data from 11 U.S. states, placed the median alcohol-related death rate at 28.5 per 100,000 people, with the highest death rate at 50.9 per 100,000 in New Mexico and the lowest at 22.4 per 100,000 in Utah. About 70% of the preventable deaths involved working-age adults, the study found.

The latest numbers "highlight the ongoing public health impact of excessive drinking in the United States," the researchers noted. The financial impact is also great: the cost of excessive alcohol consumption resulting in premature death was $223 billion in 2006 alone, the report found.

Policies that may reduce the casualty rate include raising alcohol prices and reducing the number of liquor stores and outlets in certain areas. Additionally, the researchers believe retailers should be held accountable for damage that occurs after selling alcohol to minors or individuals who are already drunk (UPI, 3/13; Kaplan, "Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/13).


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