September 14 is National Sober Day, and though Utah does better than most of the U.S. according to reports, it is still something families and individuals deal with in the state.  

The Public Health Indicator Based Information System (IBIS) said that 903 Utahns die from alcohol related deaths each year. The U.S. as a whole has 140,557 deaths every year from excessive alcohol use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. That’s roughly 1 in 10 adults from ages 20-64. 

Utah is 7th in the nation for alcohol poisoning related deaths.  

The IBIS said excessive alcohol use is a contributing factor of liver cirrhosis, some social issues like violence, unintended injuries, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.  

Excessive alcohol use is also a drain on economics. In 2010, excessive alcohol use cost the U.S. $249 billion. In 2014, overdrinking cost Utah $1.2 billion and that’s before the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Lastly, Utah has a 4.0 (crude rate) estimated by cellphones and landlines for heavy drinking while the U.S. sits a 6.2. 

So, what is considered heavy drinking? 

The Mayo Clinic Lists These Symptoms: 

  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink 
  • Wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so 
  • Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol or recovering from alcohol use 
  • Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol 
  • Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to repeated alcohol use 
  • Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it's causing physical, social, work or relationship problems 
  • Giving up or reducing social and work activities and hobbies to use alcohol 
  • Using alcohol in situations where it's not safe, such as when driving or swimming 
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol so you need more to feel its effect, or you have a reduced effect from the same amount 
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — when you don't drink, or drinking to avoid these symptoms 


If you or someone you know suffers from alcoholism, there is support out there for recovery. You can visit an inpatient center, try group or individual therapy, or call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  


Support your friends who are going dry or taking a break from alcohol. The National Day Calendar said that some of the best ways to observe National Sober Day include; making mocktails, planning activities that don’t involve alcohol, and texting/calling a friend or family member in recovery.  

It's not shameful but alcoholism should and needs to be addressed.  

You are not alone.  


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