Alcohol is killing more Americans than ever. Here’s how to save them
Bruce Barcott February 27, 2020
Alcohol is killing Americans at ever-increasing rates. Switching to cannabis could save thousands of lives every year. (Daniel/AdobeStock)
‘The Haymaker’ is Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott’s opinion column on cannabis politics and culture.
Opioids aren’t the only drugs killing Americans. A disturbing study published last week in JAMA Network Open revealed that alcohol-induced deaths in the US spiked alarmingly between 2000 and 2016—and are now climbing faster than ever.
Alcohol-induced deaths spiked alarmingly between 2000 and 2016—and are now climbing faster than ever.
Annual alcohol-caused deaths among American men rose 78% in that span, from 14,979 in 2000 to 25,213 in 2016. Deaths among women more than doubled, from 4,648 to 9,644.
Those aren’t deaths merely correlated with alcohol, like drunk driving fatalities. They’re deaths caused directly by the ravages of drink: alcohol-induced pancreatitis, liver disease, cardiomyopathy, and alcohol poisoning.
Some heavy drinkers recover their health through the Alcoholic Anonymous method—12 steps and complete sobriety. But the AA way isn’t for everyone. As more research, data, and personal experience come to light, we’re seeing many adults improve their health through alternative paths of harm reduction.
What’s harm reduction?