Majority of Alcohol Poisoning Deaths in Michigan among Middle-Aged AdultsContact: Jennifer Smith 517-241-2112
For Immediate Release: January 12, 2015
LANSING, Mich. – As the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) continues its efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of binge drinking, a new vital signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that alcohol poisoning kills an average of 77 people in Michigan each year, and three in four of those deaths involve adults ages 35 - 64 years. The report analyzes alcohol poisoning death rates across 46 states.
“This study dispels the common notion that youth and young adults have the biggest problem with binge drinking,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive of the MDCH. “It emphasizes the need for comprehensive solutions to reduce binge drinking among all ages, including community prevention strategies, screening and counseling by health care providers, and substance abuse treatment when necessary.”
MDCH is currently working to improve public health surveillance about excessive alcohol use and related health outcomes among Michigan residents. In addition to these efforts, MDCH supports state and local public health activities to reduce alcohol poisoning deaths by preventing binge drinking. Some of these activities include partnering with police, community groups, health departments, and health care providers to reduce binge drinking and related harms, monitoring the role of alcohol in injuries and deaths, and supporting proven programs and policies that decrease binge drinking. MDCH also allocates funding to Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services provided at the local level to persons at risk or with substance use disorders related to alcohol use and abuse.
Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women, and five or more drinks for men on an occasion. The more you drink, the greater your risk of death. Nationally, alcohol poisoning causes an average of six deaths each day, and most deaths occur among men and non-Hispanic whites. American Indians/Alaska Natives have the most alcohol poisoning deaths per million people. Alcohol poisoning deaths are caused by drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This can result in very high levels of alcohol in the body, which can shutdown critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature - resulting in death.
The Vital Signs report is available at www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns. The CDC will host a Vital Signs Town Hall Teleconference about this topic on Tuesday, January 13 from 2 to 3 p.m. For information about how to participate, visit http://www.cdc.gov/stltpublichealth/townhall/. For more information about the prevention of excessive alcohol use in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/substanceabuseepi.