View Full Version : 1 in 25 deaths caused by alcohol

June 25th, 2009, 07:02 PM
New research says alcohol causes one in 10 European deaths

Sarah Boseley, health editor
The Guardian, Friday 26 June 2009
Article history

One in 10 deaths in Europe are caused by alcohol, according to research published today, and one in 25 around the world.

Doctors writing in the Lancet say that drinkers mostly die from injuries, cancer, heart disease and liver cirrhosis. Alcohol can also cause a significant amount of disability.

Claims that red wine can be good for the heart have been overstated. The net effect of drinking on heart disease, says the paper, by Dr J?rgen Rehm and colleagues from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, "might be beneficial in regions in which alcohol is regularly consumed lightly to moderately without heavy drinking occasions, but this benefit is restricted to older people only".

People have drunk alcohol since the beginning of recorded history, the authors say, but it has become more damaging. "The industrialisation of production and globalisation of marketing and promotion of alcohol have increased both the amount of worldwide consumption and the harms associated with it," they write.

Globally, each person drinks the equivalent of 6.2 litres of pure ethanol on average a year, which is 12 units a week. But drinking rates rise as societies become wealthier. In Europe, the average is 11.9 litres of ethanol per year per person (21.5 units a week). In Britain, men are recommended not to drink more than 21 units a week and women 14.

Men are heavier drinkers than women and are more likely to binge, but rising rates of alcohol consumption are due to women drinking more. Although overall 3.8% of all deaths worldwide are due to alcohol, 6.3% of men's deaths are from drinking and 1.8% of women's.

In Europe, 10% of deaths are caused by drinking, with the peak in the former Soviet Union, at 15%. But the death rates are higher in developing countries and especially in south-east Asia relative to the lower amount that is drunk.

"Globally, the effect of alcohol on the burden of disease is about the same size as that of smoking in 2000, but it is greatest in developing countries," the authors write.

They point out that most of the adult population worldwide actually abstains from drinking alcohol.

Nonetheless, the cost of alcohol, in terms of healthcare and social harm, reaches 1% of GNP in high- and middle-income countries. "Overall, we conclude that alcohol consumption is one of the major avoidable risk factors, and actions to reduce burden and costs associated with alcohol should be urgently increased," they say.

Another paper in a series of three published today calls for an international framework convention on alcohol control, just as there is for tobacco.

June 25th, 2009, 07:07 PM
Great post...lets also ask ourselves..how many people would be in prison if there werent alcohol or drugs?

June 26th, 2009, 05:40 AM
Scary stuff - and interesting that most of the world's adult population actually doesn't drink. The rest of us sure make up for it.

It surprises me that although there's an increasingly bad alcohol problem in this country, it seems to be overlooked by the medical profession. When I went to my doctor for help he just wasn't interested, didn't want to do any tests to see if I've damaged my health, didn't offer any help etc, whereas the support systems for giving up smoking and drugs are well established. And illegal drugs are statistically a tiny problem compared with alcohol.

I'm not criticising doctors, I was just surprised by the lack of help available. Maybe they feel there's nothing they can really do about it.

free bird
June 29th, 2009, 06:59 AM
Very interesting indeed. Makes you wonder how come this isn't discussed as much as smoking is? Seems worse to me (or at best) just as bad. Alcohol is glamorized to the point of brainwashing in my opinion.

Alcoholism is sooo socially acceptable. Why is this?

Me thinks more reports and perhaps class action suits are to follow. Ahhh.....who am I kidding? Just because I am waking up, doesn't mean the whole world is.

Good stuff just the same.

June 29th, 2009, 08:04 AM
OMG !!!!