Alcohol-induced deaths rose 26% from 2019 to 2020, CDC finds

Jacksonville man who struggled with addiction now helps others affected by alcoholism

Unwinding with a glass of wine or beer after a long day might be fine -- until suddenly one drink turns into too many.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Unwinding with a glass of wine or beer after a long day might be fine -- until suddenly one drink turns into too many.

David Sallette, 32, said he started this pattern of excessive drinking early in life.

“I’ve been drinking since about 12 or 13. My mother died of an overdose when I was 14 years old, and my dad is still active in his addiction,” said Sallette said.

One drink after another led Sallettee on a 17-year-long battle with alcohol addiction.

“I kind of dibbled and dabbled a lit bit in drugs but mostly alcohol because it’s so easy to get. It’s legal. You can get your hands on it, and you get the same kind of feeling,” Sallette said.

Anyone can struggle with alcohol addiction.

Medical experts recorded the highest number of alcohol-related deaths in at least 40 years during the first year of the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found alcohol-induced deaths jumped 26% percent between 2019 and 2020, killing more than 49,000 people in 2020.

This included men and women ages 55 to 64 and a dramatic 42% increase among women 35 to 44.

Those statistics are not surprising to Licensed Social Worker Lori Osachy.

“They were bearing the brunt of most of the child care,” Osachy said. “And when kids couldn’t go to school and were needing to home school, I’m sure women were bearing the brunt of most of that.”

As alcoholism continues to affect thousands of Americans, Sallette is helping people in Jacksonville get help.

He founded “Sober Dadz,” a nonprofit to help others fight addiction.

“We are the Sober Dadz. If you need help, call us. We will help you,” Sallette said.

To find out more, visit the group’s Facebook page.


About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.