A new report reveals that six people die each day from alcohol poisoning. The report was released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimated that 2,221 people older than 15 died of alcohol poisoning each day during the time between 2010 and 2012. Almost three quarters were men and, surprisingly, 77% were between the ages of 35-64. Only 5% were in the younger cohort of 15-24.
“There’s a lot of binge drinking going on post-college age,” report co-author Robert Brewer says.
Death occurs when alcohol levels in the blood are high enough to shut down brain areas controlling breathing, heart rate and temperature. Warning signs can include confusion, difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, trouble breathing, a slow heart rate and clammy skin, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks in two hours for women, and five drinks in two hours for men. The CDC says most binge drinkers drink an average of eight drinks at a time.
“Alcohol poisoning is caused by consuming a very large amount of alcohol in a very short amount of time,” says Ileana Arias, the CDC’s deputy principal director. “The more your drink, the more you are at risk.”
But the number of drinks and blood levels of alcohol vary from person to person, according to emergency room physician Ryan Stanton.
“I see some people come in walking around with blood levels that are six or eight times the legal limit for driving,” he says. The legal limit in all states is a blood concentration of 0.08%.
Most deaths from alcohol poisoning do not come from alcoholics, people physically addicted to alcohol. “Fewer than one-third of the deaths happen in alcoholics, people who are physically addicted to alcohol, the CDC says. Most binge drinkers are not alcoholics, recent research shows.”