Legal Guide

Excessive Alcohol Consumption Causes 20 Percent of Deaths of Young US Adults

Alcoholic beverages are one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world. While it is common to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail with friends at happy hour, a recent study emphasizes the dangers of drinking excessively and the need for everyone to be mindful of their alcohol consumption. Researchers used state and national mortality data from 2015 to 2019 to examine deaths entirely or partially due to excessive drinking. 

The findings indicate that alcohol use accounts for 20 percent of deaths among young Americans aged 20 to 64. It is shocking to know the fact that alcohol kills about 140,000 Americans annually, with 2/3 of those deaths occurring in individuals between 20 and 64 who are working class. As a result, it is not just a public health problem, but also a bane of economic development, as economically productive people die in the prime of their lives.

Among the causes of death included alcohol poisoning, car accidents caused by driving under the influence (DUI), and other medical conditions such as liver disease. Of course, there were many alcohol-related deaths nationwide. The study observed different death cases with varying degrees of alcohol use. For instance, while 9.3 percent of all deaths in Mississippi were due to alcohol use an 21.7 percent in New Mexico.

In November 2022, the Journals of the American Medical Association, JAMA Network, published an article suggesting that higher adoption of evidence-based alcohol policies could lower the estimated 20.3 percent of deaths among adults aged 20 to 49 due to excessive alcohol use. It means that reducing alcohol consumption can have a similar effect as dieting — it can help manage the situation by causing a reduction in the number of alcohol-related accidents and deaths.

How Is “Excessive Alcohol Consumption” Defined? 

Researchers conducted an experimental study on the estimated deaths due to excessive alcohol consumption. A typical definition of light-to-moderate alcohol consumption is drinking no more than one or two drinks daily. According to the result of the study, a "drink" is 12 ounces of beer, one and a half ounces of liquor, or five ounces of wine. 

Even though other studies indicate that regularly consuming a moderate amount of alcohol may be advantageous for one's health, it appears that it is important not to overindulge for reasons related to one's health and legal considerations.

On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption causes several illnesses, including cancer and liver cirrhosis. One of the most notable is the link between drinking alcohol and a higher risk of upper aerodigestive tract cancer (oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus).

To control your alcohol consumption, start with one less drink than you would typically consume on each occasion or limit your drinking to certain days. It will help you to break a daily habit. To reduce your alcohol intake, you can also have sparkling water in between drinks or make weaker cocktails than usual.

By eating while drinking, switching between alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and scheduling alcohol-free days, you can also reduce the amount of alcohol your body absorbs. Most research evidence supports limiting alcohol consumption to the current recommendation of two or fewer drinks per day for men and one or fewer for women. Light to moderate alcohol consumption can lower the risk of several cardiovascular outcomes and even protect you against ischemic stroke and premature death.

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