Excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 140,000 deaths each year in the United States and more than $249 billion in economic costs.
Excessive drinking is linked to many chronic illnesses, including cancer and heart disease, and acute harms such as injuries. In fact, alcohol is a contributing factor to the leading causes of deaths among young people: unintentional injuries (e.g., motor vehicle crashes), suicide, and homicide. Importantly, alcohol is attributed to harms to people other than the drinker, including violence, child maltreatment and neglect, financial harms, and general social disorganization. People other than the drinker and local and state governments bear most of the financial and social costs of excessive drinking.
Binge drinking is the deadliest, costliest, and most common pattern of excessive drinking in the U.S.
≥4 drinks for women and ≥5 for men, per occasion
Almost half of all alcohol-attributable deaths are
from binge drinking
Alcohol is attributed to
Alcohol also contributes to harm to people other
than the drinker
Sales from off-premise alcohol outlets were up 30% in 2021 compared to 2018 and 2019 (Census Bureau retail sales data).
Nearly 1 in 4 adults (23%) reported drinking more alcohol to cope with pandemic-related stress (American Psychological Association).
A November 2022 study in JAMA Network Open suggests that an estimated 1 in 8 total deaths among US adults aged 20 to 64 years were attributable to excessive alcohol use, including 1 in 5 deaths among adults 20 to 49.
Research documents trend of increased alcohol-related visits to emergency departments during Covid-19. Visit rates were higher in all quarters during 2020 compared with corresponding quarters during 2018–2019, with the greatest difference in the second quarter (+24%).
A study in JAMA concludes that alcohol-related deaths increased by nearly 26% during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the largest increases in deaths occurring among people aged 25-44.