1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults alcohol related

Excessive drinking accounts for 10 percent of deaths among working-age adults, making it the leading cause of preventable death of Americans, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The alcohol use killed about 88,000 people aged 20 to 64 a year from 2006 to 2010, shortening their lives by about 30 years. They died from health effects including breast cancer, liver disease and heart disease, as well as from violence, alcohol poisoning and car crashes.

About 70 percent of those who died were men and about five percent were under age 21. The highest rate of death was in New Mexico – 51 deaths per 100,000 people – and the lowest rate was in New Jersey – 19.1 per 100,000.

The researchers counted binge drinking of four or more drinks at one time for women and five or more for men, and heaving drinking of eight or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more drinks for men.

The cost, according to the data published in the CDC's journal Preventing Chronic Disease, was about $224 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006, mostly from lost productivity.

“It’s shocking to see the public health impact of excessive drinking on working-age adults,” said Dr. Robert Brewer, head of CDC’s Alcohol Program and one of the report’s authors, in a statement. “CDC is working with partners to support the implementation of strategies for preventing excessive alcohol use that are recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, which can help reduce the health and social cost of this dangerous risk behavior.”

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