Report finds that Europe has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths 

According to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report, in 2019, there were 2.6 million alcohol-related deaths worldwide, with Europe having the highest death rate. 

Despite a 2.5% decrease from 2010, the number remains “unacceptably high,” said Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, head of the WHO’s alcohol, drugs, and addictive behaviours unit, during a press conference.

Globally, around 400 million people suffer from alcohol use disorders, which can heighten the risk of diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and cardiovascular and digestive disorders, as well as injuries and other health issues.

Europe reported the highest alcohol-related death rate in the world at 52.9 per 100,000 people, slightly higher than Africa’s 52.2 per 100,000. The region also had the highest rate of alcohol use disorders globally at 10.7%, although this has declined in recent years.

Europeans also lead the world in casual drinking, consuming an average of 9.2 litres of alcohol per capita annually, compared to the global average of 5.5 litres. Of the ten countries with the highest per capita alcohol consumption, seven are EU member states.

While alcohol use disorder rates have decreased in the Americas and Western Pacific regions, they have increased in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia. 

As part of its sustainable development goals, the WHO aims to reduce binge drinking, particularly among teenagers, by 20% from 2010 levels by 2030. However, it has not set specific targets for individual countries.

Access to treatment for substance use disorders remains a significant challenge globally. Treatment rates vary widely, from less than 1% to 35% in surveyed countries. 

Additionally, disparities exist within countries, with alcohol-related deaths predominantly among men and substance use disorders more common among those of lower socioeconomic status.

In his speech, Vladimir Poznyak added: “Stigma, discrimination, and misconceptions about the efficacy of treatment contribute to these critical gaps in treatment provision, as well as the continued low prioritisation of substance use disorders in health and developmental agencies.”

Please follow and like us: