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The majority of alcohol-related deaths in the United States occur among working-age adults, a new government study concludes. Adults ages 20 to 64 account for more than two-thirds of these deaths.

The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in the 11 states studied, alcohol caused a median of 1,650 deaths annually between 2006 and 2010, HealthDay reports.

“It’s really important to drive home that excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death,” lead author Katherine Gonzales said. “It really is right up there with tobacco and physical inactivity, especially among working-age adults.”

The study included accidental alcohol-related deaths such as car crashes, firearm injuries, drownings and occupational injuries, as well as illnesses such as liver disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

The CDC researchers found men were much more likely than women to die of alcohol-related causes. While the most alcohol-related deaths occurred among whites, deaths linked to excessive drinking were more likely among blacks, American Indians and Alaska natives.

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