Alcohol poisoning kills an average of six people a day in the United States, a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. Yearly, that number surpasses 2,200 deaths nationwide.
Authors of the report say these numbers are likely an underestimate, but even so, they reveal that alcohol poisoning deaths are a bigger problem than previously thought, they wrote in the report summary.
The report also highlights a breakdown of the numbers, noting that men are the most likely to succumb to alcohol poisoning, making up about 76 percent of the annual deaths.
And while alcohol poisoning affects people of all ages, middle-aged people are the most likely to die from it, the report says, with about 76 percent of deaths among people aged 35 to 64.
The report, called Vital Signs, is part of the CDC's weekly report on morbidity and mortality.
Scientists from the CDC studied the deaths from alcohol poisoning among people aged 15 years and up, using multiple cause of death data from between 2010 and 2012. With this, they determined that alcoholism was a contributing factor in 30 percent of these deaths, with other drugs as a factor in about 3 percent.
Despite the risks, more than 38 million American adults report binge drinking at least four times a month, and they consume an average of eight drinks per binge, the report says.
To help fight and prevent alcohol poisoning deaths, the CDC recommended a few steps that communities could take:
- Supporting proven programs and policies to decrease binge drinking. States with stronger alcohol policies have less binge drinking.
- Partnering with police, community groups, health departments, and doctors, nurses and other health care providers to reduce binge drinking and related harms.
- Monitoring the role of alcohol in injuries and deaths.
"This study shows that alcohol poisoning deaths are not just a problem among young people,” said CDC Alcohol Program Lead and report co-author Dr. Robert Brewer, on the CDC's website. “It also emphasizes the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to reducing binge drinking that includes evidence-based community strategies, screening and counseling in health care settings, and high-quality substance abuse treatment for those who need it."