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Alcohol-related deaths are up — and way up for women

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Tequila shot
Pouring a shot of tequila in El Paso, Texas. Alcohol-related deaths increased 51 percent — from 36,000 to 73,000 — between 1999 and 2017.
Photo by Joe Raedle | Newsmakers

Just as some undertake a "dry January," there's news from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that alcohol-related deaths are up — and way up for women.

Alcohol-related deaths increased 51 percent — from 36,000 to 73,000 — between 1999 and 2017. And while there are still fewer women than men who die from conditions caused by excess alcohol intake, women saw an 85 percent increase during that time.

“This is in the context of the opioid crisis,” Dr. Jon Hallberg, medical director of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic. “There’s so much focus on that, but alcohol accounts for many more deaths than opioids. And even if you cluster all drug overdoses together, alcohol is still on top of all of those.”

Dr. Hallberg joined All Things Considered host Tom Crann to talk about the effects alcohol can have on the body and to offer guidelines on how much is too much.

Click play on the audio player above to hear that conversation.