Alcohol poisoning, caused mostly by binge drinking, kills an average of six Americans every day, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. And while binge drinking is often associated with young people, the CDC says most of those killed by alcohol poisoning are middle-aged white men.
The study of alcohol deaths from 2010 to 2012 is the first by the agency to look at only those deaths caused primarily by alcohol poisoning rather than also considering those in which alcohol was a contributing cause of death, a spokeswoman says. The annual number of alcohol poisoning-caused fatalities is 2,200, according to the CDC.
A state-by-state breakdown of the numbers shows Alabama with the lowest rate of alcohol poisoning deaths and Alaska with the highest number.
California fares slightly worse than half of the states surveyed – with 9.9 alcohol poisoning deaths per million residents aged 15 and older. The national average is 8.8 deaths per one million people 15 years and older.
Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks for a woman and five or more drinks for a man at any one time. More than 38 million Americans report binge drinking an average of four times per month, the CDC says.
Excessive alcohol use costs the U.S. $223.5 billion in 2006, according to the CDC.