Following up on their recent report about binge drinking and alcoholism, the CDC took a deeper dive into heavy drinking this week and found some pretty shocking statistics: In the U.S., six people a day die of alcohol poisoning.
These people are dying after they drink too much — not because of drunk driving or other consequences of being extremely drunk. Alcohol is legal, but it is a serious drug that can have dramatic effects on your body. Signs of dangerous alcohol poisoning include difficulty waking up, vomiting, slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute), irregular breathing (more than 10 seconds between breaths), seizures and hypothermia.
And binge drinking is very common: A November CDC study reported 30 percent of American adults had at least four or five drinks in one sitting in the past month. Ten percent of those binge drinkers qualified as alcohol-dependent — so the majority of people who are engaging in this form of highly dangerous drinking are not alcoholics.
The vast majority of the people who die of alcohol poisoning in this country are white men between the ages of 35 and 64. According to the CDC data, alcohol dependence was factor in just 30 percent of these deaths.
And they’re not stopping at 4 or 5 drinks, which puts them in the category of binge drinkers. It’s more like eight drinks, the CDC says.
College isn’t where it ends. Essentially, the people who die of alcohol poisoning could be people who go out to bars only once a month but have many drinks in that one night — a scenario that isn’t hard to imagine for many people.