What Can Be Done About the Problem of Alcohol Deaths in the U.S.?

What Can Be Done About the Problem of Alcohol Deaths in the U.S.
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Alcohol-related deaths have always been an issue in the U.S., but these days, the problem is reaching new heights, highlighting an issue that needs to be addressed. Statistics show alcohol deaths are on the rise, not only in fatal crashes but also in health conditions due to excessive alcohol use. Many of these numbers highlight a drastic uptick since the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many to question whether the pandemic has played a role in the surge. But, statistics show that alcohol deaths have been a growing problem over the past few decades.

Startling Statistics in Alcohol Deaths

All you have to do is look at the numbers to see that the U.S. has a serious issue on its hands regarding alcohol-related deaths.

  • From 1999 to 2017, the death rate due to alcohol-related problems rose by 50 percent. [1]
  • Alcohol-induced deaths increased from over 39,000 in 2019 to just over 49,000 in 2020. That’s an increase of more than 25%. [2]
  • Provisional data from 2021 shows that the number of alcohol-induced deaths continues to increase to more than 52,000, which is up 34% from pre-pandemic levels. [2]
  • Alcohol use is likely to result in 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040. [3]
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported that deadly crashes involving alcohol rose 9% during the first year of the pandemic, although there were fewer cars on the road. [4]

What Can Be Done About the Problem of Alcohol Deaths in the U.S.?

As you look at the statistics from 1999 to 2017, the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths was between men ages 45 and 74. But white women had the highest increase of alcohol-related death during this time. This is of note because women have a greater risk than men when it comes to alcohol exposure for alcohol-related cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, alcohol-related liver disease, and acute liver failure due to excessive drinking.

Alcohol Use and the Pandemic

The surge in alcohol-induced deaths since the pandemic started is being blamed on the stresses of the pandemic that may have led some people to drink more frequently and more heavily. Instead of finding other outlets for their stress like exercise or meditation, many turned to drinking. We can see the result of this behavior in the statistics above.

Alcohol Related Deaths in the US - 2019, 2020, 2021

When you combine all of these statistics to look at the big picture, you can see why there is concern over the alcohol death problem in the United States. During the past couple of decades, especially over the past few years, the number of deaths from alcohol only continues to rise, which begs the question, are we doing enough?

What Are We Doing to Battle the Problem of Alcohol Use Disorder Deaths?

The alcohol-related death problem is getting attention from The White House. The White House is funding programs to address addiction, including an infrastructure bill that mandates technology inside vehicles to prevent drunk driving. State governments are taking action by launching programs to treat people in need and look at factors that may be contributing to alcohol overdoses and alcohol-related deaths.

What is being done to help reduce alcohol related deaths?

The scientific research community is also doing its part to look at drugs that can help people with certain genetic markers reduce their urge to drink alcohol. [5] Clinical trials can offer promising treatments that may lead to a reduction in alcohol-related deaths in the future.

As a culture, we can also stop glamorizing binge drinking as it’s often celebrated in various parts of life. This can lead to more people thinking this type of behavior is acceptable and not understanding the consequences, especially in the younger generation. If our society begins to criticize this behavior rather than accept and celebrate it, the mindset may change, and we may be able to avoid as many tragedies.

Reducing Alcohol Related Deaths in the US

On this same train of thought is the importance of education. Young people need to know about alcohol addiction to help them understand it better and the dangers that come along with it. This can hopefully help to end the cycle of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S.

Alcohol Rehab at Clear Life Recovery

At Clear Life Recovery, we can help people with a substance abuse disorder overcome their addictions and prevent tragedy. Our alcohol addiction program is tailored to each person’s needs since everyone’s addiction is different. Programs include different types of therapies as well as life skills training. Our services also offer help so that people can remain sober after their treatment program is over. The goal is to not only get on the path to sobriety but to stay there and avoid relapse.

We have a team of professionals who are ready to help you battle your addiction and get on the path to sobriety. Call us today or reach out to us online to get started.



[1] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acer.14239

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/podcasts/2022/20220318/20220318.htm

[3] https://www.massgeneral.org/news/press-release/alcohol-consumption-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-projected-to-cause-more-liver-disease-and-deaths

[4] https://www.madd.org/press-release/alcohol-related-deaths-up-9-despite-fewer-cars-on-the-road-during-pandemic

[5] https://www.newsweek.com/new-alcohol-death-figures-show-we-need-big-national-action-opinion-1673284