Six Americans die from alcohol poisoning each day, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The death rate from alcohol poisoning is highest among men ages 45 to 54.
"Most previous studies have looked at college kids and young people, but the problem is bigger than that," Dr. Robert Brewer, who heads the alcohol program at the CDC, told The New York Times. "It was surprising that the number of deaths was so concentrated among middle-age adults."
An average of 2,221 people died of alcohol poisoning each year between 2010 and 2012, the report found.
The CDC noted researchers changed how they track alcohol poisoning data in recent years, making it impossible to determine whether the death rate had risen.
Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person drinks large quantities of alcohol in a short period. "Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death," the report noted.
Binge drinking (having four or more drinks for women or five or more drinks for men in a short period of time) can lead to death from alcohol poisoning. About 38 million adults say they binge drink an average of four times a month.
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