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CDC: Excessive Drinking Kills New Mexicans

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Douglas Muth via Creative Commons
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Excessive drinking is among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S., according to a report just released by the CDC.

Of the 11 states studied, New Mexico had the highest death rate due to alcohol use. For every 100,000 residents, there are about 51 deaths related to excessive drinking, which is almost double the median rate.

The report also tallied up all the years of potential life lost. In New Mexico, that’s a little more than 30 thousand years annually.

Katy Gonzales, an alcohol epidemiologist, said two things stood out to her while she helped write the report: First, two-thirds of people dying alcohol-attributable deaths are men. And second, the highest rates were among working-age adults, ages 20 to 64.

That’s generally what we would consider people in their most productive years of their lives," she said. "And since we’re talking about something that is completely preventable, it’s really shocking to see such high rates."

According to the CDC, early, alcohol-related deaths cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars every year in productivity losses and lost wages.

The report recommends increasing the price of alcohol and limiting the density of bars and stores where it can be purchased.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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