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Introduction: Excessive alcohol use is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States each
year and responsible for about 10,000 deaths in California alone. In addition, excessive alcohol use is responsible for
many hospitalizations due to injuries and illnesses. Alcohol consumption is known to differ by age, sex, and race/ethnicity
and these consumption patterns can lead to differences in alcohol-related outcomes.
Methods: Using data from a variety of sources, alcohol-attributable deaths and nonfatal hospitalizations for illnesses and
injuries were calculated for California for the year 2006.
Results: Excessive alcohol use resulted in over 10,000 deaths and 72,000 nonfatal hospitalizations in California. The
majority of consequences (51%) were due to chronic illnesses associated with long-term excessive use of alcohol. Overall,
males reported more deaths and nonfatal hospitalizations due to excessive alcohol use than women. Alcohol-attributable
deaths and hospitalizations are more likely to occur among individuals aged 50-64 years for illnesses and individuals aged
20-34 years for injuries. Older individuals suffered from more chronic conditions such as alcoholic liver disease, while
younger individuals were more likely to suffer from injuries, the most common being motor-vehicle traffic crashes.
Significant differences in the rate of deaths and nonfatal hospitalizations by race/ethnicity were more common due to
injuries and violence than chronic diseases.
Conclusions: This study highlighted key findings of demographic differences in consequences suffered by excessive
alcohol use in California. Continued efforts to better evaluate the contribution of alcohol to morbidity and mortality by
demographic factors, especially by race and ethnicity, is warranted to prevent and reduce the harm associated with this