Alcohol kills more than 3 mn each year, most of them men

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Alcohol, death

Harmful use of alcohol kills more than 3 million people each year, most of them men.

More than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016, according a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) today. More than a quarter of 15-19 year olds are alcohol drinkers.

This represents 1 in 20 deaths. More than three quarters of these deaths were among men. Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5% of the global disease burden.

WHO’s “Global status report on alcohol and health 2018” presents a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption and the disease burden attributable to alcohol worldwide. It also describes what countries are doing to reduce this burden.

Worldwide, more than a quarter (27%) of all 15–19-year-olds are current drinkers. Rates of current drinking are highest among 15–19-year-olds in Europe

“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,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.”

Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28% were due to injuries, such as those from traffic crashes, self-harm and interpersonal violence; 21% due to digestive disorders; 19% due to cardiovascular diseases, and the remainder due to infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders and other health conditions.

Despite some positive global trends in the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking and number of alcohol-related deaths since 2010, the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is unacceptably high, particularly in the European Region and the Region of Americas.

Globally an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol-use disorders with the highest prevalence among men and women in the European region (14.8% and 3.5%) and the Region of Americas (11.5% and 5.1%). Alcohol-use disorders are more common in high-income countries.

An estimated 2.3 billion people are current drinkers. Alcohol is consumed by more than half of thethe population in three WHO regions – the Americas, Europe and the Western Pacific.

The average daily consumption of people who drink alcohol is 33 grams of pure alcohol a day, roughly equivalent to 2 glasses (each of 150 ml) of wine, a large (750 ml) bottle of beer or two shots (each of 40 ml) of spirits.

Worldwide, more than a quarter (27%) of all 15–19-year-olds are current drinkers. Rates of current drinking are highest among 15–19-year-olds in Europe (44%), followed by the Americas (38%) and the Western Pacific (38%).

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