Binge Drinking Can Kill You

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When you hear the term binge drinking you often think about young adults and teenagers engaging in heavy drinking. While this is often the case, binge drinking can also be associated with middle-aged Americans as well. As a matter of fact, based on new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the middle-aged group of drinkers is at the most risk of death from drinking too much alcohol too quickly.

Based on this federal report, every day in the United States, an average of six people die from alcohol poisoning or excessively high levels of alcohol in their bloodstream. The main cause of these levels is binge drinking. Contrary to the popular belief that young people are more likely to die from binge drinking than their elders, the study found that seventy-five percent of the deaths were people between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four, and only a little more than five percent of the binge drinking deaths were people aged between fifteen and twenty-four.

Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., is the Alcohol Program Lead at the CDC and one of the report's authors. He stated that "Contrary to conventional wisdom, there is a lot of binge drinking going on by people who are post college-age," and that "We were surprised by these findings." If you were to ask the CDC for a definition of binge drinking, they would say that this means a man drinks five or more alcoholic beverages in a single occasion and woman will have four or more alcoholic drinks. Another surprising finding is that only about one third of the people that died were actually alcoholics.

When we looked at the data and broke the numbers down by race, we found that based on the death certificates compiled from 2010 through 2012, an average of 2,200 people died from alcohol poisoning each year and over fifty percent of them were white males.

The state of Alaska came in with the highest death rates. This figure was a high 46.5 deaths per million compared to the lowest state rate of 5.3 deaths per million in Alabama. In terms of the regional data, states in the Great Plains, out West and in New England had higher overall averages compared to the other regions in the United States.

One of the studies researchers stated that "Living in geographically isolated rural areas might increase the likelihood that a person with alcohol poisoning will not be found before death or that timely emergency medical services will not be available."

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