Addiction News Alert: Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Worldwide On the Rise

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Released today, a new study by Canada’s Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) finds that a whopping 1 in 25 deaths worldwide are directly attributable to alcohol use, up from 2000. The study, among other factors, sites the increase in the number of female drinkers.

The study looked at the average adult consumption rates, measured by the number of standard drinks (defined as alcohol equivalent to one can of beer, one glass of wine, or one one-oz. shot of hard alcohol) per person per week, for both countries and regions globally. Europe, for example, averages 13 standard drinks.

North America showed slightly lower numbers, with 10 to 11 standard drinks per person per week. Canada, lower still, came in at 9 standard drinks. However, the Canadian average represents a steady increase each year, along with an increased rate in high risk drinking behavior.

The global average is currently seven.

Europe also has the highest proportion of alcohol-attributable deaths, with 1 in 10 deaths due directly to alcohol use. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, is showing 15% of all deaths. The deaths were generally due to injuries, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver cirrhosis.

Dr. Jurgen Rehm of CAMH and others said that alcohol-attributable disorders were “among the most disabling disease categories within the global burden of disease, especially for men.” Furthermore, unlike most other risk factors for disease, these impact younger people more than older. Of all people living with disabilities due to alcohol, overwhelmingly 34% are between the ages of 15 and 29, compared to 22% aged 45 to 59.

The report, one of three, is being published in The Lancet, a leading medical journal.

Addiction News Alert: Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Worldwide On the Rise