Americans are drinking themselves to death at an alarming rate, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol-induced causes of death included alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, a scarring of the liver caused by chronic alcohol abuse.
Health professionals at hospitals and rehab centers have recently been focused on the rising opioid epidemic in the United States, which has contributed to thousands of overdose deaths annually. Yet in 2014, more people died from alcohol-related causes than heroin and prescription painkillers overdoses combined.
Alcohol-related deaths in the US have reached a 35-year high, with more than 30,700 Americans from New England to Santa Barbara, California dying from complications of alcohol abuse.
Other adverse consequences of alcohol abuse—such as drunk driving and homicides committed under the influence—were not included in the total. If such alcohol-related deaths had been included, the yearly death toll would hit nearly 90,000.
Alcohol abuse strikes indiscriminately, from families in Santa Barbara to businessmen on the East Coast. While the number of American adults who reported drinking at least monthly rose from 54.9 percent to 56.9 percent between 2002 and 2014, the effect was especially pronounced among women. In 2014, 51.9 percent of women drank at least monthly, compared to 47.9 percent in 2009.
With more Americans drinking, it stands to reason that the number of alcohol-related deaths would increase accordingly. With such a high percentage of the population engaging in alcohol abuse, hospitals and rehab centers are hard-pressed to keep up with the demand.
In addition, the vast majority of alcohol consumption occurs among heavy drinkers—10 percent of American drinkers make up a staggering 75 percent of total alcohol consumption. These drinkers are most at risk for alcohol-related health problems, and should visit rehab centers as soon as possible.
For drinkers in Santa Barbara and elsewhere, the line between moderate alcohol consumption and abuse is increasingly blurred. In order to avoid potentially-fatal health problems, alcohol abuse should be treated by appropriate professionals before it is too late.