Alcohol vs Drugs: Which Kills More Americans?

“The drug, alcohol and suicide crisis has been growing for a decade and growing in uneven ways. The COVID crisis has increased stress on all Americans and has worsened the differential impact of health inequities on communities of color. While all Americans need support coping with the pandemic, people who are currently struggling with addiction or a mental health issue need urgent attention,” said John Auerbach, President and CEO Trust for America’s Health. Across the country, the February 2020 – February 2021 drug overdose death rate is predicted to rise 30.4% from the previous year.

  • Substance misuse can begin even after the very first time someone uses a drug.
  • Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have exacerbated mortality trends.
  • If you are concerned about your drinking or the drinking of your loved one, please talk with your health care provider.
  • The study, published in the journal Addiction, provided evidence that alcohol is the direct cause of breast, liver, colon, esophagus, and other types of cancer.
  • The alcohol related death vs opioid related death is staggering and growing.
  • This means that Big Alcohol must sell to heavy, problematic drinkers.

In 2017, 10,874 people in the United States lost their lives in a car accident in which at least one person alcohol vs drugs had been drinking alcohol. The year before saw 10,497 people die in an alcohol-related car accident.

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The World Health Organization estimates that alcohol kills three million people throughout the world every year. In other words, alcohol is the cause of 5.3% of all human deaths annually.

alcohol related deaths vs other drugs

This has coincided with increasing exposure to more potent substances such as cheaper synthetic opioids like fentanyl in illicit drug markets. Combined with disparities in access to effective substance use treatment , these developments might be driving the increasing concentration of poisoning deaths in lower SES and Black populations we observed. These underlying dynamics of the opioid crisis might explain an increase in opioid-only and combined alcohol and opioid poisonings in lower socioeconomic groups. However, we also find rising alcohol-only poisonings in these groups, which cannot be explained by these mechanisms alone and may instead be a symptom of wider despair in society .

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States

Alcohol also causes fatty liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and alcohol hepatitis. Heavy drinking can weaken the heart and affect how oxygen and nutrients are delivered to certain organs in your body. Prolonged and excessive alcohol use can also interfere with brain function and structure. Not to mention the secondhand events that occur like car accidents, DUI’s, drunken injuries, toxic relationships, and destruction of property. Drug and alcohol abuse have impacted seniors in the United States as it has among younger Americans. Over 5,000 people ages 65 and over in the U.S. died of a drug overdose in 2020, and more than twice that many died of alcohol-induced causes. The data are featured in two new reports released today by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics .

The report on alcohol-induced deaths, based on CDC data, found that although they make up less than 1% of all deaths among adults 65 and older, the death rates increased between 2019 and 2020, climbing from 17 to 20.1 deaths per 100,000 people. Other drug use can also lead to mental and physical health problems. Methamphetamine can cause permanent damage to the organs including the heart, brain, lungs and kidneys, along with skin sores, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, paranoia and aggression, among other health problems.

Availability of data and materials

Binge drinking, which is especially problematic, is four drinks in two hours for women and five drinks in two hours for men. The misuse of alcohol and other psychoactive substances including prescription medications affects the health and well-being of millions of Americans each year. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 19.3 million adults in the United States struggled with a substance use disorder in the past year. This population-based cross-sectional study of mean annual alcohol-attributable deaths among US residents between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2019, used population-attributable fractions. American Indians/ Alaskan Natives have the highest rates of alcohol related deaths. The death rate for all races has jumped in the interim between 2006 and 2019. In 2019, 30 states had alcohol-related death rates in the double digits compared to 2006 when only 10 states had alcohol-related deaths in the double digits.

Healing Properties thanks the CDC, the NIH and the NIAAA for their true and due diligence. And that, in turn, helps America — and Americans — to be healthy. Yes, it sometimes seems we’re taking 10 steps back for every single step forward. Throw Covid into the mix, and the rise also seems almost within reason. That places a whole lot of fellow Americans in need of emergency medical assistance. In fact, it’s 210,000 more over the eight years leading up to 2014.