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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on September 18, 2023
5 min read

How Many Alcohol-Related Deaths Are There in a Year?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking causes more than 95,000 deaths in the United States annually. This equates to 261 alcohol-related deaths every day.4

Over half of those who have lost their lives to alcohol suffer from the long-term health effects of excessive drinking. These effects include certain cancers, liver disease, and heart disease.

Others were killed in motor vehicle accidents and overdoses involving other substances.

Regardless of how they died, their deaths shortened their lives by an average of nearly 29 years. This adds up to 2.8 million years of potential life lost to excessive alcohol consumption.

How Many People Die From Alcohol Worldwide Every Year?

Around the world, people die from alcohol use every day — three million every year, according to the World Health Organization.1 This represents 5.3 percent of all deaths worldwide.

Moreover, alcohol is responsible for 5.1 percent of the global burden of disease and injury. In other words, if alcohol isn’t killing people directly, it’s causing diseases and injuries that can.


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Alcohol-Related Death Rates Since 1999

According to a recent study, alcohol-related death rates in the United States since 1999 have doubled among people who are at least 16 years old.17

There were one million alcohol-related deaths between 1999 and 2017.

There could be a whole host of reasons behind this increase. For example, alcohol is largely linked to depression,7 and depression has also increased.

Plus, the rise of social media in recent years has led to a constant fear of missing out and the need to compare oneself to others. That alone has upped depression rates.14

Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Mortality

The risk of mortality increases the more often someone drinks.12 While heavy drinkers are at the highest risk of alcohol-related mortality, moderate drinkers still face some risk.

For example, in 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.15 These drunk driving accidents accounted for 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths nationwide.


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What are the Most Common Alcohol-Related Deaths?

The most common alcohol-related deaths include cancer, heart, and liver disease. Heavy use of alcohol, like all excessive substance use, can take a significant toll.

Alcohol Consumption and All-Cause Mortality

On average, six people die of alcohol poisoning every day in the United States.3

Many more people lose their lives to overdoses that involve other substances, including prescription drugs. However, the leading causes of alcohol-related deaths relate to longer-term diseases.

Alcohol Consumption and Heart Disease Mortality

Alcohol misuse can lead to high blood pressure and other health conditions that cause strokes and heart disease over time.5

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.6 This is true for both men and women across the board.

In the U.S., someone dies from heart disease every 36 seconds. This adds up to about 655,000 deaths every year. It also equates to one in every four deaths across the country.

Alcohol Consumption and Cancer Mortality

Heavy drinking can increase one’s risk of developing certain types of cancer. Alcohol consumption causes between 3.2 to 3.7 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States annually.11

From 2013 to 2016 alone, alcohol consumption was linked to 75,000 new cancer diagnoses and nearly 19,000 cancer-related deaths yearly.13

Mouth and throat cancer is largely linked to alcohol. Almost half of new diagnoses are related to drinking alcohol in most states.10

Alcohol Consumption and Liver Disease Mortality

Alcohol is one of the leading causes of liver disease. Liver disease is also a leading cause of death in the U.S.

Liver cirrhosis was the 12th leading cause of death in the country in 2015.8 Specifically, 42,443 people died that year, which was 2,494 more people than the year before.

Among the alcohol-related deaths linked to liver cirrhosis in 2015, nearly half (49.5) percent were alcohol-related.


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Who is at Risk of Alcohol-Related Problems?

Anyone can develop alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD is an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol intake, despite the consequences.

The following groups are more likely to develop AUD:

  • Binge drinkers: Binge drinkers and heavy drinkers are at higher risk of developing AUD over time.16 But other factors also contribute.
  • Underage drinkers: People who start drinking early are up to five times more likely to report having AUD than those who waited until the legal drinking age.
  • Genetics: people who have a family history of alcohol problems are at risk of developing their own. About 60 percent of alcoholism is tied to genetics.
  • People with mental health problems: Mental health also plays a role in AUD. Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are just some mental health conditions linked to AUD.
  • Childhood trauma: Those who still cope with childhood traumas are also at a higher risk. They may use alcohol to cope with the trauma.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Addiction

Fortunately, there are numerous options for alcohol addiction, regardless of your location or the severity of your addiction:

  • Detox: The first step in treating any alcohol addiction is detoxifying the body of this harmful substance. If you have a physical dependence on alcohol, a medically supervised detox is likely necessary.
  • Treatment programs: After detox, you may want to explore whether an inpatient or outpatient treatment program would be best.
  • Therapies and support groups: Additionally, many people benefit from attending 12-step programs and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat the root causes of addiction.

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider to discuss your treatment options. You don’t have to navigate the road to recovery alone.


  • Alcohol consumption is linked to thousands of deaths each year.
  • Anyone can develop alcohol use disorder (AUD), but certain groups are at a higher risk
  • Fortunately, there are options for treating alcohol addiction, including medically supervised detox, treatment programs, and therapies.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, seek professional help.
Updated on September 18, 2023
17 sources cited
Updated on September 18, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Alcohol Fact Sheets.” World Health Organization.
  2. "Rethinking drinking: Alcohol and your health." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 
  3. Alcohol Poisoning Deaths.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015.
  4. Deaths from Excessive Alcohol Use in the U.S.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021.
  5. Friesema et al. “Alcohol Intake and Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality: the Role of Pre-Existing Disease.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, BMJ Group, 2007.
  6. Heart Disease Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020.
  7. Kuria et al. “The Association between Alcohol Dependence and Depression before and after Treatment for Alcohol Dependence.” ISRN Psychiatry, International Scholarly Research Network, 2012.
  8. LIVER CIRRHOSIS MORTALITY IN THE UNITED STATES: NATIONAL, STATE, AND REGIONAL TRENDS, 20002015.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  9. Van Beusekom M. “Depression Triples in US Adults amid COVID-19 Stressors.” CIDRAP, 2020.
  10. McDowell, S. “US States Vary in How Drinking Alcohol Affects Cancer Diagnoses and Deaths.” American Cancer Society, 2021.
  11. Nelson et al. “Alcohol-Attributable Cancer Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States.” American Public Health Association, 2013.
  12. Rogers et al. “NONDRINKER MORTALITY RISK IN THE UNITED STATES.” Population Research and Policy Review, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013.
  13. Sauer et al. “Proportion of Cancer Cases and Deaths Attributable to Alcohol Consumption by US State, 2013-2016.” Cancer Epidemiology, Elsevier, 2021.
  14. Seabrook et al. “Social Networking Sites, Depression, and Anxiety: A Systematic Review.” JMIR Publications, 2016.
  15. Traffic Safety Facts: Alcohol-Impaired Driving.” NHTSA.
  16. Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  17. White et al. “Using Death Certificates to Explore Changes in Alcohol‐Related Mortality in the United States, 1999 to 2017.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2020.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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