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The rate of deaths that can be directly attributed to alcohol rose nearly 30% in the U.S. during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new government data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already said the overall number of such deaths rose in 2020 and 2021. Two reports from the CDC this week provided further details on which groups have the highest death rates and which states are seeing the largest numbers.
“Alcohol is often overlooked” as a public health problem, said Marissa Esser, who leads the CDC’s alcohol program. “But it is a leading preventable cause of death.”
A report released Friday focused on more than a dozen kinds of “alcohol-induced” deaths that were wholly blamed on drinking. Examples include alcohol-caused liver or pancreas failure, alcohol poisoning, withdrawal and certain other diseases. There were more than 52,000 such deaths last year, up from 39,000 in 2019.