Alcohol's toll on health, safety and economy in US very concerning: Study
Alcohol's health, safety and economic toll on residents in the US state of Massachusetts far outstrips revenues from state alcohol taxes, according to a new report from Boston University.
According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol kills on average 2,760 people in Massachusetts per year. The leading causes include 641 poisoning deaths, 350 deaths from alcoholic liver disease, 294 deaths from cancers attributable to alcohol use, and 211 liver cirrhosis deaths.
Alcohol's toll in terms of death and disability rose by 13.8% from 2009 to 2019; faster than lung cancer, diabetes, hypertension, dietary risks or tobacco use.
During the pandemic, nearly two in five (38%) of Massachusetts adults reported they increased their drinking, while nationwide, deaths involving alcohol increased by 25.5% from 2019 to 2020.
Excessive alcohol use was responsible for more than 140,000
deaths in the United States each year during 2015–2019, or more than 380 deaths
per day, according to the CDC.
The CDC estimated that alcohol problems cost the state of Massachusetts $5.6 billion in 2010, the last year for which an estimate is available. Of that, $2.26 billion (or $345 per person and $.77 per drink consumed) was paid directly by governments.
"Alcohol is clearly not paying its way in the state," said state Representative Kay Khan in response to the report. Khan has repeatedly introduced bills in the legislature to increase the state's alcohol tax. "Our taxes on alcohol are far out of date, while alcohol problems have continued to increase."
While Massachusetts drinkers consume and binge drink more than the national average, the state's alcohol policies rank 17th in restrictiveness among the 50 states.
Source: Boston University School of Public Health