A new federal report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention claim that nearly 12 percent of deaths in the American Indian and Alaskan Native population are alcohol related. This statistic when compared to the national average of 3.3 percent for the US as a whole has been a “call to action."
The study examined all alcohol-related deaths between 2001 and 2005 and found the two leading causes of alcohol-related deaths among the Indian populations were traffic accidents and liver disease. This study however, may still be low as other alcohol-related deaths like tuberculosis, pneumonia, and colon cancer, all of which are usually associated with alcohol abuse, were not included.
The largest number of tribal deaths related to alcohol consumption, nearly a third of the total numbers, occurred in the Northern Plains. The lowest numbers were in Alaska. Although the study did not research regional causes that might cause such a disparity, one researcher offered: “It may be a function of social perceptions of alcohol in that particular region.” Meaning, one assumes, that peer pressure does not always end with adolescence.