A recent study has shown that deaths linked to alcohol abuse have been steadily increasing since 2000, especially since 2012. The groups registering the largest increases have been American Indian men and Alaskan Indigenous men (+3.3%) as well as women in general (+4.2%) and white women specifically (+4.2%). To arrive at these statistics, researchers intentionally left out deaths caused by traffic accidents, alcohol-connected cancers, and alcohol-related organ system or infectious diseases.
Reviewing data from death certificates at the CDC and the U.S. Census Bureau, those involved in the study compiled numbers from alcohol-linked liver disease, alcohol poisonings, and mental or behavioral disorders directly linked to alcohol. They noted that alcohol deaths increased in “urban, rural, wealthier and poorer counties.” In other words, it’s affecting all of our communities. Here’s some of the shocking data by the numbers:
- 60% of male deaths were from liver disease.
- 69% of female deaths were from liver disease.
- 36% of male deaths were from the other alcohol-linked causes.
- 28% of the females were from the other causes.
- 7.1% was the female average increase from 2013-2016.
- 4.2% was the male average increase from 2012-2016.
- From 2000-2016, the male alcohol deaths increased from 1.4% to 1.8%.
- In that period, female deaths increased from 3.1% to 3.6%.
Researchers don’t know for sure what is causing the increases and can only speculate. Those who venture to speculate claim the following may be some factors:
- Alcohol is sold at more places, making it easier to access.
- The availability of a wider variety of alcoholic beverages.
- Neglecting to consider that women’s bodies are physiologically different than men’s.
- Stress and anxiety.
- Societal inequalities.
- Women are prescribed medications like Xanax, Percoset, and Vicodin more often than men–medications that are extremely dangerous when mixed with alcohol.
What they, of course, failed and/or refused to mention is that advertisements for liquor, especially hard liquors, have gone way up on TV and online since 2000 (when the study started). Television shows, movies, and music videos also glorify drunkenness as socially admirable and chic. Then there’s the fact that sinful human nature craves whatever God hates, so since God hates the sin of drunkenness, people in blatant rebellion against God will embrace it.
The best cure to resolve alcohol abuse is a relationship with the Lord by faith in Jesus Christ when one repents of sin. That’s the only thing that can provide the ultimate fulfilling purpose to one’s life and that can heal whatever brokenness lying within a person that drives them to drink. However, the researchers have offered the following remedies:
- Screening by physicians.
- Publicizing the CDC guidelines for the moderate consumption of alcohol for both men and women.
- More widespread and economical treatments for alcohol abuse.
- Taxing the heck out of alcohol, stricter zoning laws to tamp down the number of alcohol sellers and ordinances to dissuade selling to intoxicated customers.
- Alleviating labels and shame to encourage drunkards to get help.
As American society continues to tick up it’s resistance to godly things and the importance of including the one true God in society, this problem won’t be going away anytime soon. It’s yet one more thing we can add to our prayer lists.
11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! …
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink. Isaiah 5
Source: Dennis Thompson, HealthDay News, Study: Alcohol-linked deaths soar in U.S., hit women hardest, UPI.com, February 22, 2020.