CDC: Alcohol-Induced Deaths Rose 30% in 2020

    CDC: Alcohol-Induced Deaths Rose 30% in 2020
    Updated Nov 10, 2022
    Image credit: Getty


    • According to a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report focusing on more than a dozen types of deaths directly caused by drinking, the alcohol-related death rate in the US rose nearly 30% in the first year of the COVID pandemic.[1]
    • The CDC previously reported that such deaths had increased in 2020 and 2021, but the study released Friday provided more details, including the increase from 39k deaths in 2019 to 52k in 2020.[2]
    • Other studies conducted in the fall of 2020 found that binge drinking increased during the pandemic, with a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showing the average frequency of drinking went up a total of 14% over the previous year and 41% for women.[3]
    • The rate of such deaths typically increased by at most 7% each year over the past couple of decades, but in 2020 they were up 26% to 13 deaths per 100k Americans, the highest recorded rate in 40 years.[4]
    • Alcohol-related deaths are still 2.5 times more common for men than women, but rose for both in 2020, including a 42% jump in women aged 35-44. The rate remained the highest, however, for those aged 55-64.[5]
    • Another JAMA report published earlier this week, which included deaths more widely linked to drinking through causes such as car accidents, suicide, falls, and cancers, found that with the broader category, more than 140k people die from alcohol annually. It also estimated that 1 in 8 deaths for US adults aged 20-64 were alcohol-related.[2]


    Narrative A

    The pandemic was a traumatic event, and those types of events always cause an increase in drinking. Combine this with easy access to and the social acceptability of alcohol, along with the overuse of anxiety-provoking social media and the internet, and you have a huge crisis that can only be addressed with better government policies in terms of screenings and treatments.

    Narrative B

    It’s criminal government policies, like forcing workers into COVID-infested workplaces and children and teachers into schools too soon, that have brought us to this point. A moral and scientific solution is needed to help the working class defeat America's epidemic of addiction and take power back from the corporations and politicians that put wealth above safety.

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