Alcohol’s toll high in New Mexico | Local News

Alcohol kills New Mexicans at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country — and no one can fully explain why.

New Mexicans die of alcohol-related causes at nearly three times the national average, higher by far than any other state. Alcohol is involved in more deaths than fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine combined. In 2020, it killed more New Mexicans under 65 than COVID-19 did in the first year of the pandemic — 1,878 people.

This outsize harm defies easy explanation. Alcohol kills people in New Mexico at higher rates than in states that are poorer, states where more people drink and states where the drinkers drink more. “Our risk behaviors don’t line up with our deaths,” said Michael Landen, New Mexico’s state epidemiologist from 2012-20.

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