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Dec 23, 2015 11:27 AM EST

Acohol induced deaths in the U.S. register record rates

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According to new federal data, alcohol is causing the death of Americans at a rate not witnessed in the last 35 years, philly.com reports.

In 2014, there were 9.6 deaths caused from alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, up 37 percent since 2002.

This number of alcohol-induced deaths excludes deaths indirectly caused by alcohol, such as from drunken driving, other accidents, and homicides committed under the influence of alcohol.

According to CDC, in 2014, more people died from alcohol-induced causes (30,722) than from overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined (28,647).

According to The Washington Post , more than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-related causes in 2014, an increase of 37 percent since 2002. The data also shows alcohol deaths have reached a 35-year high.

Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor who studies alcohol consumption patterns and their effects, noted that per-capita alcohol consumption has been increasing since the late 1990s.

"Since the prevalence of heavy drinking tends to follow closely with per capita consumption, it is likely that one explanation for the growth in alcohol-related deaths is that more people are drinking more," he wrote in an email.

Patterns of alcohol-induced deaths vary widely from state to state. Alcohol-related death rates in the Philadelphia region are below the national average.

The heaviest drinkers are at the greatest risk for alcohol-induced causes of mortality. An earlier study by Cook reveals that the top 10 percent of American adults consume close to 74 drinks a week on average.

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