The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a report that attributes the loss of approximately 2.5 million years of potential life, one in 10 deaths of working-aged adults and $223.5 billion in health-care and productivity costs annually to excessive drinking. The study examined data from CDC’s Alcohol-Related Disease Impact application for 2006 to 2010 to calculate the number of deaths that could be attributed to alcohol based on a list of 54 alcohol-related causes, including immediate deaths due to, for example, alcohol poisoning, as well as deaths from alcohol-related diseases like liver cirrhosis.
The researchers focused especially on excessive alcohol use, defined as binge drinking (on a per-occasion standard), heavy drinking (on a drinks-per-week standard), pregnant drinking, and drinking by minors. “This analysis illustrates the magnitude and variability of the health consequences of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States,” the researchers conclude. “More widespread implementation of interventions recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force (19), including increasing alcohol prices by raising alcohol taxes, enforcing commercial host (dram shop) liability, and regulating alcohol outlet density, could reduce excessive alcohol consumption and the health and economic costs related to it.”