About six individuals die per day due to alcohol poisoning, with the majority of the approximately 2,220 deaths per year involving adults ages 35–64, reports a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings appear in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The CDC reviewed data from 2010–2012 derived from the National Vital Statistics System to assess average annual alcohol poisoning deaths and death rates in the United States. During this time frame, an annual average of 2,221 alcohol poisoning deaths occurred among individuals ≥15 years of age in the U.S. Adults aged 35–64 comprised 75.7% of those deaths and 76.4% involved men. While non-Hispanic whites accounted for the majority of alcohol poisoning deaths (67.5%), the highest age-adjusted alcohol poisoning mortality rate was among American Indians/Alaska Natives (49.1 deaths per 1 million). Deaths occurring in those under the legal drinking age of 21 (15–20 years old) were 2% of the total number of deaths due to alcohol poisoning. Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) was identified as a contributing factor in 30% of these deaths, while other drugs were noted to have been a factor in approximately 3% of the deaths.

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States with the highest mortality rates included those in the Great Plains, western U.S., and New England. The age-adjusted mortality rate for individual states ranged from 5.3 per 1 million in Alabama to 46.5 per 1 million in Alaska. Twenty states had alcohol poisoning death rates higher than the overall national rate of 8.8 per 1 million and Alaska and New Mexico had alcohol poisoning death rates >30 per 1 million.

The authors note that although these results indicate that alcohol poisoning deaths are a more significant issue than previously thought, these number are likely to be an underestimate of the scope and scale of alcohol poisoning-related deaths.

For more information visit CDC.gov.