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How High Are Alcoholism Death Rates?

August 27th, 2010 – Posted by James W. West M.D. F.A.C.S. in Doctors Office


Question: Are death rates from alcohol consumption that high? They seem to be exaggerated. Would you address this please?

Answer: They are not exaggerated. Alcohol-related conditions, particularly those that are contributing rather than direct causes of death, are substantially under-reported on death certificates. This may be due to a reporting bias, lack of information on the deceased person’s drinking history, or both. Chronic alcohol-related liver disease, which provides organic evidence at an autopsy, ranks as the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. Alcohol-related deaths commonly come disguised as trauma. The leading cause of injury deaths in the United States in l987 (46,386) was motor vehicle crashes. Half of these were alcohol related.

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