Sacramento – The number of deaths in the United States (U.S.) involving alcohol jumped 25.5 percent between 2019 and 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research published Friday, March 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a time to stop and think about the impact that alcohol has on daily life in California. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is the principal regulator of the sale, manufacture, and distribution of alcohol in California. This month ABC will continue enforcing alcoholic beverage laws and providing education recognizing there are serious health and public safety concerns surrounding alcohol, especially when it is misused.
The number of deaths in the March 18 JAMA report reflect a sharp incline from prior years; there were 78,927 alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. in 2019 and 99,017 in 2020. These deaths also included alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. Alcohol-related deaths made up 2.8 percent of all deaths in 2019 and three percent in 2020.
“This month ABC encourages everyone to promote safety,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “Help prevent alcohol-related crashes on roads, and the abuse of alcohol.”
Underage drinking is a significant public health problem in the U.S. The CDC says excessive drinking is responsible for more than 3,500 deaths and 210,000 years of potential life lost among people under age 21 each year.
Impaired driving is another issue in our nation. The CDC reports that in 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S.
Beginning July 1, 2022, any alcohol server and their manager who works at an ABC licensed premises with on-sale privileges, must be trained by an approved and accredited Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training provider, have a valid RBS certification, and pass an online ABC administered RBS exam within 60 calendar days from the first date of employment. Find an approved training provider on ABC’s RBS Portal.
Off-sale licensees and their employees are encouraged to sign up for ABC’s voluntary Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs training free of charge. Licensees and their employees can now take the training online, they can also sign up for training in person in a classroom setting.
ABC is a department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.