Alcohol is responsible for far too many deaths in the United States. Intoxicated driving is obviously the most high-profile cause of alcohol-related deaths. In 2013, alcohol was involved in more than 10,000 traffic fatalities in the United States. But a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the consequences of excessive drinking go far beyond the nation’s streets and highways.

The CDC defines excessive drinking as binge drinking, underage drinking, consistent heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women. CDC researchers found that excessive drinking is responsible for nearly 88,000 premature deaths each year in this country. It can reduce your lifespan by as much as thirty years. And it costs the United States more than $200 billion every year in lost productivity, healthcare costs, and law enforcement expenses. In addition to fatal drunk-driving crashes, the report lists liver and heart disease, alcohol-related violence, and alcohol poisoning as common causes of death related to excessive alcohol consumption.

Approximately 70 percent of the fatalities were men. The report also found a clear but disturbing east between east and west. New Mexico, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, and Montana had the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths among working-age adults, while New Jersey, North Carolina, and Maryland had the lowest.

If you’re accused of DUI, it doesn’t mean that you are an excessive drinker. It probably just means that you made a bad judgment – if in fact you are guilty at all – and that you need to contact an experienced Orange County DUI attorney. However, if you’re accused of DUI for a fourth or fifth time, you may be an excessive drinker, and your health may be at risk. Seek medical help, and if you’re sentenced to DUI counseling, take advantage of it. Whether it’s your first offense or a subsequent violation – and whether you’re a casual drinker or an excessive drinker – you have rights, and if you’re charged with DUI, you have the right to an attorney. An experienced Orange County DUI attorney will fight on your behalf and for your best interests.