Booze kills millions across the world - the facts will shock you

World Health Organization calls on international governments to take action against growing alcohol related deaths.

13 May 2014
World Health Organization reports on drinking alco

The World Health Organization released their 2014 study with already well known and overwhelming results that alcohol is the cause of death, disease and socioeconomic issues. 

In their recent press release WHO states:

Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths in 2012 were due to harmful use of alcohol, says a new report launched by WHO.

Alcohol consumption can not only lead to dependence but also increases people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. In addition, harmful drinking can lead to violence and injuries.

The report also finds that harmful use of alcohol makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

'More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,' says Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. 'The report clearly shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing the harmful use of alcohol.'

'Lower-income groups are more affected by the social and health consequences of alcohol. They often lack quality health care and are less protected by functional family or community networks,' explains Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director for Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO.

Key Facts:

 - Worldwide, 3.3 million people die every year due to harmful use of alcohol, this represent 5.9 % of all deaths.

- There is a higher percentage of deaths among men than among women are from alcohol-related causes with 7.6% of men’s deaths and 4% of women’s deaths.

-On average 15 years or older drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol per year. But as less than half the population (38.3%) actually drinks alcohol, meaning those who do drink consume on average 17 litres of pure alcohol annually.

- The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.

- Globally, Europe is the region with the highest consumption of alcohol per capita, with some of its countries having particularly high consumption rates.

- Overall 5.1 % of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability- adjusted life years.

- Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In the age group 20 – 39 years.

- There is a causal relationship between harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioural disorders, other noncommunicable conditions as well as injuries.

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