UN calls for tougher action to discourage liquor abuse

The Sophia Echo

The harmful consumption of alcohol kills an estimated 2.5 million people across the world every year, the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report released on February 11 2011, urging governments to implement measures to prevent drinking habits that damage health and cause other social problems.

According to the Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, harmful alcohol use is increasingly affecting the younger generations and drinkers in developing countries, the UN News Service reported.

“Many countries recognise the serious public health problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol and have taken steps to prevent the health and social burdens and treat those in need of care,” Ala Alwan, the WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, said.

“But clearly much more needs to be done to reduce the loss of life and suffering associated with harmful alcohol use,” he said.

According to the report, nearly four per cent of all deaths globally are related to alcohol, and most alcohol-related deaths result from injuries, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and liver cirrhosis. Globally, 6.2 per cent of all male deaths are related to alcohol, compared to 1.1 per cent of female deaths, the report notes.

One in five men in Russia and neighbouring countries die of alcohol-related causes, according to data in the report, while globally, 320 000 young people between the ages of 15 and 29 die annually from alcohol-related causes, which represent nine per cent of all deaths in that age group.

Too few countries use effective policy options to prevent death, disease and injury from alcohol use, WHO says in its report.

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