Alcohol Kills: WHO Says Alcohol Responsible for One in 20 Deaths Worldwide
According to WHO, alcohol kills approximately three million people worldwide each year. “This is more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined,” said the World Health Organization on Friday, adding that men are more at risk.
Additionally, the UN health agency’s latest report on health and alcohol revealed that alcohol can cause more than one in 20 deaths globally each year. This includes drunk driving, alcohol-induced violence, abuse and a multitude of diseases and disorders, which are caused by drinking bottles of alcohol.
The reports found that men, in particular, are accounted for more than three-quarters of alcohol-related deaths.
“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
Moreover, simply drinking one glass of alcohol can cause more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.
Other reports found that alcohol abuse can make people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, and pneumonia.
The latest available statistics found that some three million alcohol-related deaths registered globally in 2016, account for 5.3 percent of all deaths in that year.
The number of deaths for young people is far more alarming, with a full 13.5 percent of all deaths among 20-29-year-olds considered to be alcohol-related, the study found.
Death rate: Unexpectedly High
In comparison, HIV/AIDS was responsible for 1.8 percent of global deaths in 2016, meanwhile, road injuries accounted for 2.5 percent and violence for 0.8 percent.
However, the latest numbers are lower than those in WHO´s last report on global alcohol consumption, which was published back in 2014.
“There are some positive global trends”, the agency said, noting shrinking prevalence of heavy episodic drinking and alcohol-related deaths since 2010.
But it warned that “the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is unacceptably high, especially in Europe and America.”
Globally, an estimated number of 46 million women and 237 million men suffer from alcohol drinking disorders, WHO said.
Alcohol abuse affects nearly 15 per cent of men and 3.5 per cent of women in Europe, and 11.5 per cent of men and 5.1 per cent of women in the Americas, it pointed out.
Alcohol consumption overall is unevenly distributed around the globe, with well over half of the world´s population over the age of 15 abstaining completely.
On average, the 2.3 billion people currently considered drinkers, meaning they have drunk alcohol at least once in the past year, consume 33 grams of pure alcohol per day.
Alcohol risk every day
In Russia, average annual alcohol consumption plunged from 18.7 liters of pure alcohol per person over 15 in 2005 to 11.7 liters in 2016, the report said.
“This dramatic decrease is linked to a range of positive policies introduced by Moscow, Vladimir Poznyak, who coordinates WHO´s substance abuse unit,” told reporters.
He pointed to ban the minimum price for vodka and alcohol advertising.
WHO still warns that even if alcohol consumption has depressed in Europe, it has still increased in other continents, especially in Asia, with China and India in a high amount of alcohol purchase.
It is feared that the total global consumption will increase by 10 percent between 2010 and 2025.
“Based on all trends and predictions, we can expect an increase in overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm in the next 10 years. This will definitely result in increased number of deaths and suffering around the world,” Poznyak warned.
WHO is currently urging countries to increase tax in alcohol and ban advertising of such beverages to reduce consumption by residents.
“These events are being watched by millions and sometimes billions of young people, and it’s impossible to prevent exposure to this kind of advertising to those who are under the legal age,” he said.