Alcohol Kills More People Than AIDS, TB and Violence
Due to growing incomes, people in Africa and Asia (especially India) have started consuming more alcoholic drinks while the problem of binge drinking in the United States and other highly developed countries is an increasingly disturbing issue, says the United Nations agency.
Despite these facts, alcohol restrictions remain very weak in many countries where it is not considered to be a burning issue even though some of these same countries suffer great consequences due to excessive use of alcohol including domestic violence, disease, violence towards children and decreased capacity to work.
The WHO said in its “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health”, that over 2.5 million people die each year all around the world from alcohol related diseases.
The report found that the age group most at risk from harmful alcohol use were males between 15 to 59 years of age. It also said that alcohol is amongst the leading causes of preventable death in the world.
In Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), one in five deaths is related to heavy alcohol use and diseases linked to the substance.
In Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine, binge drinking has become a serious problem among youth and middle-aged people, according to the World Health Organization. It is also becoming a growing issue in other parts of the developing world.
According to the study, across the world, men engage in heavy drinking once a week 4 times as much as women do in the same contexts. Men are much more likely to consume large amounts of alcohol socially and much more often than women.
The World Health Organization’s 193 states will try to introduce higher taxes on alcoholic drinks and also place even more restrictions on the selling of the such drinks to try and control their excessive use.
According to the WHO and a study performed in 2004, alcohol is linked to around 60 different illnesses and injuries around the world including cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, road traffic accidents, poisonings, violence, and many types of cancer, including larynx, breast and liver cancer.
Vladimir Poznyak, head of WHO’s substance abuse unit said that several years ago there was no evidence of a link between heavy drinking and breast cancer, but now there is. Mr. Poznyak coordinated the study.
The rates of alcohol consumption vary greatly between the world’s nations. For example, highly developed countries have high rates of alcohol consumption, while North Africa, sub-Saharan countries and middle-eastern countries have low alcohol consumption rates as these predominantly Muslim areas often abstain from drinking alcohol.
At the moment, illegally produced alcohol accounts for about 30 percent of the entire world’s consumption.
In European countries such as France, heavy drinking per person is low although consumption is high, suggesting that people drink regularly but moderately, not thrusting themselves in harm’s way in the sense of risky quantities of alcohol.
According to the World Health Organization, light to moderate quantities of alcohol have beneficial impacts on cardiovascular problems as well as being able to prevent strokes. However, the WHO added that these beneficial aspects of alcohol disappear when alcohol is abused.
If enforced, the most effective ways of curbing alcohol consumption among young people, is raising taxes, raising age limits and also regulating alcohol use in drivers.
The World Health Organization also said that many countries don’t have effective policies in preventing alcohol abuse.
Many also feel that raising taxes or prohibiting the young from buying alcohol will increase the chances that people will either start producing or consuming more home-made alcohol which is dangerous.11