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CDC: Most Alcohol-Linked Deaths Occur Among Working-Age Adults

States lose thousands of people in their prime years, report finds

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Americans' excessive alcohol use contributes to thousands of deaths each year, and the majority who die are working-age adults, according to a report published in the March 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study used death-certificate and alcohol-consumption data from 11 states -- California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Researchers ran the data through a computer model, using a list of 54 alcohol-related problems to calculate how drinking had contributed in general to these deaths. Accidental causes such as car crashes, firearm injuries, drowning, hypothermia, and occupational injuries were included, as well as illnesses such as liver disease, cancer, stroke, pancreatitis, hypertension, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

The researchers found that, in the 11 states studied, alcohol caused a median of 1,650 deaths each year between 2006 and 2010. This equated to a median of 43,000 potential years of life lost. Men were significantly more likely to die of drinking-related causes than women. In making its calculations, the model took into account diseases in which alcohol is a direct cause, such as alcoholic liver disease, as well as diseases in which alcohol serves as a contributing factor, such as hypertension or stroke.

According to the report, New Mexico had the highest death rate from excessive drinking of the 11 states studied -- about 51 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 residents. Utah had the lowest, with 22.4 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000. The most total alcohol-related deaths occurred among whites. Blacks, American Indians, and Alaska natives, however, tended to have higher death rates linked to excessive drinking than other groups.

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