On September 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report where they stated that over 3 million people died from alcohol consumption in 2016. This meaning that alcohol is the cause of 1 in 20 deaths globally.

This report is called: Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. It talks about how much the consumption is, the diseases derivating from it and the measures that different countries are taking to solve this problem. This U.N. organization estimated that 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol-use disorders. And the highest prevalence is between the American Region and the European Region.

The problem

People who drink alcohol consume about 33 grams of pure alcohol a day. This is equivalent to a large bottle of beer (750 ml). Surveys of different countries have proved that alcohol use starts before the age of seventeen, without almost any variation between boys and girls. When teenagers hit the ages among 15 and 19 years old, 27% worldwide are current drinkers.

45% of the alcohol consumption goes in the form of spirits, the second most popular drink is beer (34%) and the third place goes to wine (12%). This has been the preferences of consumers since 2010.

An estimated of 2.3 billion people are current drinkers. And WHO expects an increase in the global alcohol per capita consumption in the next 10 years. This projection is made by following the current trends. They think this increase is going to particularly affect South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions and the Region of the Americas.

World Health Organization, WHO, UN, alcohol
People who normally consume alcohol, drinks about 2 glasses of wine daily. Image credit: Taylor Weidman / Bloomberg.

Some consequences and a few actions needed

According to the report from the alcohol consumption related deaths, 28% proceeds from traffic crashes, self-harm, and interpersonal violence. And the 21% due to digestive disorders; 19% due to cardiovascular diseases, and the 32% left is due to infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders, and other health conditions. The alcohol-related disorders are more common in high-income countries.

“All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol” commented the Coordinator of WHO’s Management of Substance Abuse unit, Dr. Vladimir Poznyak.

Some actions that can be taken by different countries are: bans or restrictions for alcohol advertising, increasing taxes on alcoholic drinks or restricting the physical availability of alcohol. Globally, there are restrictions on beer advertisements. But this only applies for radio or television, is less common to find them for the internet or social media. And certainly, there are alcohol excise taxes but countries don’t use other price strategies such as banning below-cost selling or volume discounts.

What is true, is that WHO officially called this results as unacceptably high. And if countries all over the world don’t make decisions and take the right actions to solve this problem, it’s only a matter of time before it grows. It better to handle the matter now, because the bigger it gets the harder it becomes to solve it.

World Health Organization, WHO, UN, Alcohol
“Reducing the harmful use of alcohol will help achieve a number of health-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” sateted the World Health Organization. Image credit: DREAMSTIME.

Source: World Health Organization