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December 20, 1985

Alcohol-Associated Teenage Deaths: United States, 1980

Author Affiliations

National Cancer Institute Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1985;254(23):3308. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360230038008

To the Editor.—  The great toll of deaths in the United States due to alcohol-associated diseases (other than trauma) was summarized recently by a group at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.1 To evaluate alcohol-related teenage deaths, traumatic or not, we used the same data source—Multiple Cause of Death Tapes for 1980 from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).These tapes contain diagnoses of the underlying causes of death and up to 20 contributory causes, along with the usual demographic data as coded routinely by the NCHS from every death certificate filed during the year. We studied these data for persons who died at 10 to 19 years of age whose death certificates showed alcoholism as an underlying or contributory cause of death. The code numbers used for this diagnosis, from the ninth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), were 303, alcohol dependence syndrome, which