Though most of us were well aware of the growing number of coronavirus fatalities during the pandemic, we may not have been as cognizant of early deaths caused by other factors, including drinking. Deaths caused by alcohol use rose 26% during the first year of the pandemic, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. It's the biggest year-over-year increase in at least two decades.
Alcoholic liver disease was the main cause of the uptick, rising 23% from the previous year. Mental health disorders due to alcohol use, such as deaths from psychotic disorders or intoxication, climbed 33%. The increase affected all age groups with the exception of men age 85 and over.
Though the isolation of pandemic restrictions may have played a part, U.S. consumers are also just drinking more, period. Alcohol consumption rose roughly 10% from 1999 to 2019, likely fueled by lower prices.