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Addiction Linked to 9 of Top 10 Causes of Death in Alaska

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Nine of the 10 leading causes of death in Alaska — all but Alzheimer's disease — include alcohol, tobacco or other drug addiction as an underlying cause, the Juneau Empire reported March 15.

Smoking, for example, is a leading cause of cancer, heart disease and stroke, while alcohol use can contribute to diabetes and injuries, and addiction, in general, can underlie suicide.

Researcher David Driscoll of the University of Alaska Anchorage said that the findings show that many deaths in Alaska are preventable. Experts pointed to the success in changing cultural and personal attitudes about smoking as evidence that public-health campaigns can work.

The study by Driscoll and colleagues examined seven underlying causes of death in communities in the north polar region of the globe.

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