A new study published to the Journal of the American Medical Association this week revealed excessive drinking is a major cause of death among young adults. According to the study, which was based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and posted at JAMA Network Open, approximately 20% of deaths among 20 to 49-year-old Americans were directly attributable to alcohol abuse.
The study, which looked at deaths and drinking from 2015 to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, also found excessive drinking was responsible for one in eight (12.9%) deaths among people ages 20 to 64.
According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use is a leading preventable cause of death in the United States and shortens the lives of those who die because of it by an average of 26 years.
The agency says that about one in six U.S. adults binge drink, meaning for women consuming four or more drinks on a given occasion and for men, five or more drinks. Officials report that Americans have a problem with heavy drinking, which is eight or more drinks per week for a woman and 15 or more drinks per week for a man.
Today’s rate of consumption far outpaces the years around Prohibition but is well below the peak of American alcohol intake of the 1980s. Today’s average U.S. adult consumes about 2.3 gallons each year, compared to just under one gallon in 1934 and 2.76 gallons in 1981, the Associated Press noted.