Where binge drinking is deadliest in the U.S.

Alcohol-attributable deaths by state

Hover over the map to see state-specific rates

Binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption are responsible for roughly 10 percent of deaths among working age adults, according to a new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (pdf). The study, carried out between 2006 and 2010, found that alcohol abuse kills nearly 88,000 Americans every year, and accounts for over one in ten years of potential life lost among working-age adults in the United States. All in all, excessive drinking is responsible for one in 10 deaths among working age adults in the country, more than half of which were specifically tied to binge drinking.

You can read more about the study here in a write-up by my colleague Lenny Bernstein.

Nationwide, those 88,000 alcohol-attributable deaths per year amount to roughly 27.9 per 100,000 American adults. But that number actually varies quite a bit by state--as you can see from the map above. In New Mexico, the death rate due to excessive drinking is 51.2, which is easily the highest in the U.S. In New Jersey, the state with the lowest reading, the death rate is nearer to 19 per 100,000 residents. Alaska notched the second highest reading, with 41.1 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 residents; Hawaii notched the second lowest, with 20.8; and Washington D.C.'s 34.7 rate is well above the national average.

America's drinking problem poses more than merely a health risk—it costs the country more than $220 billion each year.

Alcohol abuse is currently the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. And it's hardly limited to those of legal drinking age. A surprisingly high percentage of high school students indulge not only in underage drinking, but underage binge drinking, and hundreds of thousands of underage drinkers are hospitalized each year. The CDC, in response to its findings, recommends a more widespread implementation of a number of interventions, including the raising of alcohol taxes, and forced limit on alcohol outlet density.

Roberto A. Ferdman is a reporter for Wonkblog covering food, economics, immigration and other things. He was previously a staff writer at Quartz.
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