An Average of 6 People Die Every Day from Alcohol Poisoning Says CDC Report

An Average of 6 People Die Every Day from Alcohol Poisoning Says CDC Report
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January 8, 2015

A report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that an average of six people die each day from alcohol poisoning.

The statistic is part of a study that analyzed alcohol poisoning deaths for people 15 or older using multiple cause and death data sets.

Alcohol poisoning is caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time, also known as binge drinking. Specifically, binge drinking is typically considered drinking more than four drinks for a woman or five drinks for a man within a short period of time. The report found that when adults binge drink, they consume closer to eight beverages.

A drinker can succumb to alcohol poisoning when very high levels of alcohol begin to shut down parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate and body temperature.

Of the 2,200 people that die each year from alcohol poisoning, about three quarters of them are between the ages of 35 and 64 and not the college-age crowd typically associated with binge drinking behaviors. That demographic only made up about 5 percent of deaths. Alcohol dependence played a role in about 30 percent of deaths.

Men died from alcohol poisoning at a higher rate than women at 76 percent.

The report also showed a large disparity between racial groups, with 68 percent of those who died identifying as white/non-Hispanic. Hispanics, this next largest group, made up just 15 percent.

American Indians/Alaska Natives made up only 7 percent of total deaths and are a smaller share of the U.S. population, but have the most alcohol poisoning deaths per million people of any of the races.

The death rate among the states varied widely, but the highest death rate is in the Midwest. In North Carolina 8.6 per million people die of alcohol poisoning.

"This study shows that alcohol poisoning deaths are not just a problem among young people," CDC Alcohol Program Lead and report coauthor Robert Brewer ce of taking a comprehensive approach to reducing binge drinking that includes evidence-based community strategies, screening and counseling in healthcare settings, and high-quality substance abuse treatment for those who need it."

More details and a breakdown of the methodology can be found on the CDC website.