Alcohol related deaths are on a sharp rise in the United States, according to new research published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, first reported by USA Today.
In rather staggering results, researchers found that from 2007 to 2017, the number of deaths attributable to alcohol in the U.S. increased 35%, while the overall death rate rose 24%. Even more shocking is how alcohol-related deaths broke down by gender. While deaths among men rose 29%, deaths among women rose an alarming 85%.
One reason this topic has been overlooked: the opioid addiction crisis, which has also generated alarming statistics about drug-related fatalities.
But drinking causes a number of related health conditions, which is how related deaths are measured and is why it matters when drinking rates go up. Alcohol kills more people every year than other types of overdoses because alcohol is linked to pretty much every other major killer, from cancer to suicide. Alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, is linked to heart disease and diabetes. The IHME repeats what many know but many also ignore: there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
“The story is that no one has noticed this,” IHME researcher Max Griswold told USA Today about why these statistics flew under the radar for so long. “It hasn’t really been researched before.”