Alcohol-Linked Deaths Spike in Rural America

THURSDAY October 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) – In rural America, alcohol consumption has become particularly deadly for many, according to a new government report.

Alcohol-related deaths in these regions increased by 43% between 2006 and 2018, health officials reported.

During this period, the death rate fell from 11 per 100,000 people to 15 per 100,000 people. In addition, the death rate among women has more than doubled, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I really want to highlight this health disparity, the fact that there has been an increase in rural areas in recent years,” said lead researcher Merianne Spencer, of the Analysis and Epidemiology Division of CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

“Hopefully we can take the next step and other researchers can dig deeper into this issue, as we see it at the national level,” Spencer added.

For the report, the researchers included deaths from alcohol-related medical conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, but not causes indirectly related to alcohol consumption, such as traffic accidents or car accidents. suicides, Spencer explained.

“These increases in alcohol-related deaths may well be related to the fairly recently described phenomenon of reduced life expectancy in the United States in recent years, primarily among whites with low levels of education,” he said. said Dr. JC Garbutt, an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill.

“I think ‘the death of desperation’ is a contributing factor. The meaning of this is complex, but it is believed to be linked to a variety of social and employment disruptions,” he added.

Overall, the data points to the need to educate people about the health consequences of alcohol, especially heavy drinking, said Garbutt, who was not linked to the study.

Using data from the National Vital Statistics System, Mortality, Spencer’s team found:

  • Alcohol-related deaths among people aged 25 and over have increased more among men and women in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • In 2000, alcohol-related deaths among men were highest among those living in cities, at 21 per 100,000 population. In 2018, most alcohol-related deaths were in small towns at 27 per 100,000 and in rural areas at 25 per 100,000.
  • Among women, the death rate from alcohol in rural areas in 2000 was among the lowest, at 4 per 100,000 population. By 2018, these rates had more than doubled to almost 10 per 100,000.

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