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Study: Alcohol cutting down more Americans in their prime

Alcohol accounts for one in 10 working-age deaths nationwide, mostly men, and cuts lives short by as many as three decades, federal health officials reported Thursday.

Colleen Curry, ABC News, Jun 27, 2014

A little extra wine at night or a few extra beers on the weekend could be putting you in danger, new research shows.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the cause of one in 10 deaths in working-age people, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week.

You may be surprised at what counts as excessive alcohol consumption: eight drinks a week for women and 15 drinks a week for a man. That means that just over one drink of wine or beer a night, every night, is considered too much for women; and, on average for men, slightly over two.

And for those who abstain on weeknights but drink on the weekends, binge drinking can be a real danger.

Women who have more than four drinks in one sitting and men who have more than five drinks in one sitting qualify as binge drinkers, and binge drinking accounted for more than 50 percent of the alcohol-related deaths in the study.

Though alcohol-related deaths are often thought of as a problem related to alcohol addiction, the study reports that many of the deaths actually occur as injuries or accidents after people imbibed too much, such as drunken driving or falling.

More than 70 percent of the deaths of working-age people were men.

By state, New Mexico had the highest, 50 deaths per 100,000 people; New Jersey the lowest, at 19 deaths. You can see where your state ranks here.

The CDC looked at all alcohol-related deaths from 2006 to 2010 to draw its conclusions. It counted individuals age 15 and up who died from acute causes, such as injury, and ages 20 and up who died from chronic causes such as cirrhosis of the liver.

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