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Between 2015 and 2019, one in eight Americans ages 20 to 64 died due to injuries or illness caused by excessive alcohol use — an increase of approximately 25 percent over a similar period nine years earlier. This included one in five deaths among adults ages 20 to 49, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published in JAMA.

“This is really affecting adults in the prime of their life,” study leader Marissa Esser tells the New York Times.

Numerous reports suggest that U.S. adults drank more to cope with the stress of the pandemic, and a 2022 JAMA research letter backs this up: Alcohol-related deaths rose during the first year of the pandemic, accounting for 3 percent of all deaths in 2020, up from 2.8 percent in 2019 — a 25 percent increase in one year.

Excessive alcohol use is associated with heart and liver disease and cancer, as well as with motor-vehicle crashes and incidences of violence, the CDC states.

18.2%: Increase in alcohol-related deaths among adults 65 and older from 2019 to 2020, according to a 2022 CDC National Center for Health Statistics report.

3: Rank of alcohol use among the leading preventable causes of premature death, according to the National Institutes of Health. The top two are tobacco use and
poor diet/physical activity.

Michael Dregni

Michael Dregni is an Experience Life deputy editor.

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