Colorado Has More Alcohol Deaths Than Nearly Every Other State

<p>(Photo: CPR/Ben Markus)</p>
<p>Hundreds of beers fill coolers at Argonaut Wine & Liquor in Denver.</p>
PHOTO: Local Beer
Hundreds of beers fill coolers at Argonaut Wine & Liquor in Denver.

Colorado ranks 45th among states in alcohol-related deaths, according to a new scorecard from The Commonwealth Fund.

Nearly 10 in 100,000 Americans died in 2017 from an alcohol-related death. In Colorado, that was figure was nearly 17 in 100,000.

A separate May analysis found that Denver has higher rates of alcohol abuse than places like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Austin. Denver also ranked in the bottom 10 for its suicide rate.

Alcohol deaths in Colorado rose 57 percent between 2005 and 2017 — that's about 20 percentage points higher than the national growth rate during that time, researchers said.

It's not all bad though, however. When Colorado is compared to all other states in the Commonwealth Fund rankings, which look at many tenets of how a state's health system performs, it ranks ninth.

Sara Collins, vice president for health care coverage and access at The Commonwealth Fund, said the state does well on prevention and treatment. Compared to others, Colorado also has relatively fewer adults who are obese, smoke or report bad health.

The Centennial State has the lowest rate of adult obesity in the nation — 23 percent of Coloradans fit that criteria — but ranks 17th in childhood obesity.

"It ranks in the top 10 states on about three out of five categories that we look at," Collins said. "And it is also the top-ranked state regionally, so it performs the best out of the Rocky Mountain states."

Hawaii was the highest performing state in the rankings; Mississippi was last.

CPR's John Daley contributed to this report.