The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Canada has recently put forth staggering research results revealing that 1 in 25 deaths worldwide are directly linked to alcohol consumption. Furthermore, in Europe, 1 in 10 deaths are directly related to alcohol consumption.
Europeans drink on average 13 drinks per week, North Americans tend to drink about 11 drinks per week, and Canadians drink roughly 9 drinks on any given week. The national average stands at about 7 drinks per week. In the study, 1 drink is equivalent to the alcohol content of 1 beer, 1 glass of wine, or 1 shot of spirits, each of which contain 13.6 grams of pure ethanol.
"Globally, the effect of alcohol on burden of disease is about the same size as that of smoking in 2000, but it is relatively greatest in emerging economies."
This statement begs the question; why do we not see more anti-drinking ads? Society could not be more fully aware of the devastating affects of smoking, but drinking, the socially acceptable habit, takes far less slander. Research such as this could be used to inform the public of the dangers of repeated excessive alcohol consumption.
That being said, it seems difficult to comprehend the rates of disease worsened by alcohol consumption without knowing the quality of health care among the countries being compared.
“CAMH's Dr Jürgen Rehm and his colleagues found that alcohol-attributable disorders are among the most disabling disease categories within the global burden of disease, especially for men. And in contrast to other traditional risk factors for disease, the burden attributable to alcohol lies more with younger people than with the older population.”
Clearly, knowledge gained from this research should be targeted toward the younger population since they typically make up the highest portion of drinkers. This kind of research can have powerful effects on society through various avenues that may indirectly reduce such statistics. For example, recent changes to Ontario’s drinking and driving laws ensure that a mere .05 blood alcohol level will get your licence suspended. Research, such as this, could be put to good use to help treat and prevent social and economic crises.
Personally, these statistics would be much more powerful if mental illness and concurrent substance abuse disorder had been examined separately in relation to alcohol consumption on burden of disease.
One In 25 Deaths Worldwide Attributable To Alcohol