More people in Wisconsin died from alcohol in 2020 than during any other year on record.
That's according to the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum report, which found deaths directly related to alcohol rose nearly 25% in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Death certificates of U.S. residents show 1,077 people in Wisconsin died in 2020 due to alcohol-induced causes, up from 865 in 2019. (The report says these deaths were directly attributable to alcohol, not deaths where alcohol was only a factor.)
To compare, 992 people in Minnesota died from alcohol use in 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said last year. That is 171 more Minnesotans than compared to 2019.
MDH said deaths from alcohol use in 2020 mirrored similar trends in recent years until June 2020, when the number of alcohol-related deaths started to accelerate, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report says while Wisconsin's increase was slightly below the national increase of 25.7% between 2019 and 2020, Wisconsin started with a higher rate of alcohol-related deaths than the national average.
And Wisconsin's rate of 18.5 per 100,000 alcohol-induced deaths was 25% higher than the nationwide rate of 14.9 per 100,000.
The report says alcohol use rose "considerably amid the stress and isolation of the pandemic" and suggests that the increase in alcohol-related deaths in Wisconsin could be driven by higher rates of binge drinking in the state and its history with high alcohol consumption.