From 2007 to 2017, the number of deaths attributable to alcohol increased 35 percent, the USA Today newspaper reported Friday, citing the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Deaths among men rose 29 percent, while rising 67 percent among women, the study found, an alarming statistic because females once drank far less than males.
Deaths among people aged 45 to 64 rose by about 25 percent, Presstv Reported
"The story is that no one has noticed this," says Max Griswold, who helped develop the alcohol estimates for the institute. "It hasn't really been researched before."
Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, had the highest rate of death from alcohol in the country, according to the institute's analysis.
The institute published a study in August that showed no amount of alcohol consumption is healthy and any slight health benefits of drinking alcohol are clearly offset by the risks.
The US opioid crisis, which kills about 72,000 people a year, has turned away America's attention from the slower moving epidemic of alcohol, especially in Southern states and the nation's capital.
“It's an increase that has been obscured by the opioid epidemic. But alcohol kills more people each year than overdoses – through cancer, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and suicide, among other ways,” USA Today said in its report.
Well Being Trust, a health advocate group, called the rising mortality rates from alcohol, drugs and suicide "despair deaths."
Drinking can lead to cancers all along the digestive tract, from the mouth to the colon. About 15 percent of US breast cancer cases are considered to be caused by alcohol.
The "direct toxicity" of alcohol damages the nervous system from the brain down to the spinal cord and to peripheral nerves, says Dr. Anthony Marchetti, an emergency room doctor at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Georgia.
Marchetti said long-term alcohol drinking can also lead to heart failure, infections due to immune suppression, a type of dementia from alcohol-induced brain damage, stomach ulcers and a much higher risk of cancer.
Between 2008 and 2014, the rate of ER visits involving acute alcohol consumption rose nearly 40 percent, according to the study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Psychologists attribute growing alcoholism to the high level of workplace stress that began accelerating during the Great Recession, loneliness linked to social media and increasing pressures on working mothers.