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Alcohol poisoning on the rise in Phoenix, Arizona

Published On: 09-30-2015 in Category: addiction, Addiction Treatment, alcohol abuse, Recovery, Treatment Centers


Earlier in January this year, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was released that reported Arizona to have experienced the fourth highest death rate due to alcohol poisoning in the U.S. between 2010 and 2012.

According to the recent government report, deaths as a result of alcohol poisoning are averaging around 2,221 people per annum, but this could very likely be an underestimation.

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and sometimes fatal result of drinking too much liquor in a relatively short period of time. Such a pattern of drinking can adversely affect breathing, heart rate, body temperature, gag reflex and in extreme cases, result in a coma and death. Immediate medical attention is required in the case of alcohol poisoning.

The states with the highest alcohol poisoning death rates are concentrated largely in the West, with New Mexico, Arizona and Wyoming at second, fourth and fifth-highest death rates, respectively.

An average of six people die on a daily basis from alcohol poisoning, as estimated by the CDC. Moreover, according to The Post’s Lenny Bernstein, 76 percent of those who died nationwide were between the ages of 35 and 65, contrary to the common perception of young kids abusing alcohol.

The CDC further stated that in Arizona, the death rate due to alcohol poisoning was an alarming 18.7 percent per million residents over the age of 15.

Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, believed a major reason for Arizona being so high up on this list was the susceptibility of certain populations to alcohol abuse, as reported by Arizona Central.

“If you look at numbers across the nation it’s mostly non-Hispanic white males, but the denominator is bigger, we look at risk factors inside each denominator,” Humble said. “The odds of an alcohol-related emergency room visit were seven times higher among Native Americans compared to other ethnicities.”

To further support this reasoning, a Vital Signs study on Alcohol Poisoning Deaths revealed that approximately 76 percent of the population that dies from alcohol poisoning are men and around 68 percent are non-Hispanic Whites.

Humble further stated that in 2013, 2.5 percent of all emergency room visits and 4.5 percent of all inpatient hospitalizations were related to binge drinking in Arizona. The Arizona Department of Health Services defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks on the same occasion within a day.

Binge drinking involves the consumption of really large amounts of alcohol. Such drinking can exceed the body’s physiologic capacity to process alcohol, causing the blood alcohol concentration to rise. Approximately 38 million U.S. adults report binge drinking an average of four times per month and consuming an average of eight drinks per episode, according to the 2015 report by Vital Signs.

“What was surprising, the key demographic group is [men] aged 40 to 60. If you talk to people off the street you’d think it was kids in their 20’s,” Humble added. He further elaborated that single men between the ages of 45 and 54 were most susceptible to emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths in 2013.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio, emergency room physician and co-medical director of Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center, stated alcohol to be responsible for one-third of all emergency visits in a given night.

He further said, “A lot of people don’t think they are at risk, but if you have the stats in front of you, it’s not that many drinks. It’s not rocket science. It’d be better to make people aware that this is an issue and to remind them that what it means is that you’re at risk.”

It is important to differentiate between alcoholics and binge drinkers.

Alcoholics are alcohol dependent. They drink to avoid withdrawal and take larger quantities over time to get drunk. Binge drinkers, on the other hand, could just be people who drink on the weekends, according to Humble.

About 780,000 Arizona residents said they binge drink in a 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor survey. “Our target audience is a binge drinker,” Humble said. “For them, the golden rule is not to drive.”

Deaths caused by alcohol poisoning are a serious and preventable public health problem in the United States. Recovery, however, is always an option and we are here to help you through this stressful process. The Phoenix Drug Treatment Rehab Center is open to you to help you choose the right path to recovery. If you or a loved one is currently seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, call us right away for more information.

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