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Public Health

Binge Drinking Is Killing a Lot of Americans

Today researchers at the Centers for Disease Control published an analysis of alcohol-related deaths that blames heavy drinking for one-in-10 deaths of working-age Americans from 2006 to 2010.

From liver damage and alcohol poisoning to liquor-fueled car wrecks, falls, and murders, excessive drinking contributes to tens of thousands of deaths each year in the U.S.—a rate of 240 per day.

Excessive, according to the CDC, includes binges (five drinks or more for men or four for women), heavy weekly drinking, and any alcohol consumption by pregnant women or teens.

Here’s a look at the leading ways hard drinking causes premature death:

Heavy drinking is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC. The agency cites research pegging the cost at $224 billion annually, or roughly $1.90 per drink in 2006.

The death rate due to excessive alcohol was highest in New Mexico (51 deaths per 100,000) and lowest in New Jersey (19 deaths per 100,000). The CDC also tallied lives cut short. Each year, the agency estimates, premature deaths linked to alcohol cost 2.6 million years of potential life.

Tozzi is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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