The study found that alcohol-related deaths in the United States increased in five years by 40,000. The toll is clear: About 178,000 people died in 2021 from excessive alcohol consumption, compared to 138,000 in 2016. During that period, deaths increased by 27 percent among men and 35 percent among women.

Dr. Siegel attributed the increase possibly to people’s high stress levels during the pandemic along with the increase in delivery services offered by the beverage industry. “Every time you make something easier to acquire, you see an increase in usage in response,” he said.

The researchers concluded that their estimates of alcohol-related deaths were very conservative, because the data only included active drinkers. Additionally, deaths from several diseases, including tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, for which excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor, were not tabulated. But the researchers counted 58 associated causes, including some deaths directly related to binge eating, such as alcohol dependence syndrome or poisoning, and other less directly related conditions, such as breast cancer, heart disease and car accidents.

The CDC analysis adds more urgency to a recent survey showing increases in excessive alcohol consumption among middle-aged adults. Among people ages 35 to 50, a cohort that includes millennials and Generation its highest level recorded in decades. Twenty-nine percent reported consuming five or more drinks in a row in 2022, up from 23 percent in 2012.

That annual survey, called Monitoring the Future, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, also found that the same age group reported record use of marijuana and hallucinogens.

The CDC study notes that states and counties can try to reverse the death toll by promoting policies to raise alcohol prices, possibly through taxes, and making the products harder to obtain. The agency also suggested that media campaigns could encourage people to drink less.

Another suggestion: Train doctors on how to ask patients about their alcohol consumption and make a plan with them to reduce it.

Researchers are unearthing new evidence that suggests even a little alcohol is bad for your health. The body of research is growing beyond the connection to police reports related to car accidents and homicides. The studies are now link alcohol consumption how to damage a person’s DNA and how it can break down cells and cause mutations that develop cancer.

Even red wine, long believed to have health benefits, has lost its luster.

Findings that drinking in moderation may not be the key to vibrant health have emerged in recent years, as greater scrutiny of influential researchers’ ties to the alcohol industry has also come to light.