- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A new federal report — issued after the New Year’s Eve celebrations — says that in recent years, around 2,200 people have died annually from alcohol poisoning.

That is equivalent to six people a day losing their lives from drinking far too much in a short time period, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which called for more comprehensive efforts to discourage excessive drinking.

During 2010-2012, about 2,221 people aged 15 and older died of alcohol poisoning in the United States, the CDC said Tuesday.

Three in four alcohol-poisoning deaths were of adult males, with white men and Native American men overrepresented in the tallies, the agency said.

The highest death rate was among men aged 45 to 54, but around 44 of the deaths each year were of underage drinkers who were younger than 21.

Binge drinking is defined as four or more alcoholic drinks at one session for a woman, and five or more drinks at one session for men.

Approximately 38 million adults say they binge drink around four times a month, with a typical consumption of about eight drinks per episode, the CDC said.

“Most binge drinkers — 90 percent — are not alcohol-dependent,” the agency noted.

However, alcohol poisoning can happen any time someone drinks far too much alcohol than their body can safely process.

Signs of trouble start with decreased judgment and control, slurred speech and poor muscle coordination, and can progress to vomiting, stupor, coma and death.

States with the highest alcohol-poisoning death rates include Alaska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, Oklahoma and Massachusetts, the CDC said.

The agency suggested state officials regulate the “density” of alcohol outlets in a community, and prevent illegal alcohol sales.

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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