Six Americans die every day due to alcohol poisoning caused by binge drinking, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency also found that white, middle-aged men were more likely to drink themselves to death than any other demographic.
CDC, in the findings of the study released Tuesday, said that between 2010 and 2012, 2,200 people died every year due to alcohol poisoning, which is caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short span of time. Of these deaths, over three-quarters were reported in men and three out of four who died were between the ages of 35 and 64. And, a staggering 68 percent of the overall deaths were reported among non-Hispanic white Americans.
CDC defines binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in a short period of time. The study found that people who indulge in binge drinking usually consume an average of about 8 drinks per binge, resulting in dangerously high levels of blood alcohol.
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, there is a lot of binge drinking going on by people who are post college-age … most previous studies have looked at college kids and young people, but the problem is bigger than that,” Robert Brewer, the study’s co-author, reportedly said, adding that they were "surprised" by the findings. Only 5 percent of binge drinkers who died belonged to the college-going age group of 15 to 24 years.
Among the states, Alaska was found to have the most deaths caused by alcohol poisoning -- with 46.5 deaths per million -- followed by New Mexico, Rhode Island and Arizona. The least number of deaths were reported in Alabama, with a death rate of only 5.3 deaths per million.
Surprisingly, only 30 percent of those who died of alcohol poisoning were identified as alcoholics, according to the report. “Most people who drink too much are not alcohol dependent but may still need counseling,” CDC said, in a statement accompanying the study.
“While this study reveals that alcohol poisoning deaths are a bigger problem than previously thought, it is likely to be an underestimate,” CDC said in the statement.