Alcohol-Related Deaths Have Doubled in Past 20 Years

Rates of alcohol-related deaths among Americans have roughly doubled in the past 20 years, with women accounting for a considerable portion of the spike, new research shows.

Despite the national focus on fighting the opioid epidemic, the findings suggest that there’s still work to be done when it comes to alcohol addiction.

The study was conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an arm of the National Institutes of Health.


To reach their findings, researchers looked at death certificate data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics spanning nearly 20 years, from 1999 to 2017.

Researchers found that a variety of alcohol-related causes led to the deaths of almost one million Americans aged 16 and older during that period. Some examples include alcohol poisoning, liver and heart disease, and physical injuries sustained from being under the influence.

Alcohol-related deaths doubled in the time period, growing from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017.


While a higher number of men succumbed to alcohol-related deaths, the percentage of women who suffered alcohol-related deaths soared. It increased by over 100% during the period studied, with an increasing number of those deaths coming from white women and women overall in younger age groups.

Aaron Moore, who was the lead researcher on the study, told National Public Radio that increased alcohol consumption among women has also resulted in more emergency room visits and longer hospital stays. He and the other researchers also sounded a warning that the rise in alcohol-related deaths should not be overlooked.

“[The] findings confirm an increasing burden of alcohol on public health and support the need for improving surveillance of alcohol-involved mortality,” the report noted.

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