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WHO|Alcohol

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Alcoholisapsychoactivesubstancewithdependenceproducing
propertiesthathasbeenwidelyusedinmanyculturesforcenturies.The
harmfuluseofalcoholcausesalargedisease,socialandeconomic
burdeninsocieties.Environmentalfactorssuchaseconomic
development,culture,availabilityofalcoholandtheleveland
effectivenessofalcoholpoliciesarerelevantfactorsinexplaining
differencesandhistoricaltrendsinalcoholconsumptionandrelated
harm.
Alcoholrelatedharmisdeterminedbythevolumeofalcoholconsumed,
thepatternofdrinking,and,onrareoccasions,thequalityofalcohol
consumed.Theharmfuluseofalcoholisacomponentcauseofmore
than200diseaseandinjuryconditionsinindividuals,mostnotably
alcoholdependence,livercirrhosis,cancersandinjuries.Thelatest
causalrelationshipsestablishedarethosebetweenalcoholconsumption
andincidenceofinfectiousdiseasessuchastuberculosisand
HIV/AIDS.
Awiderangeofeffectiveglobal,regionalandnationalpoliciesand
interventionsareinplacetoreducetheharmfuluseofalcohol,witha
promisingtrendoverthepastfewdecades.

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1. Alcoholconsumption:
Worldwideconsumptionin2010wasequalto6.2litresofpure
alcoholconsumedperpersonaged15yearsorolder,which
translatesinto13.5gramsofpurealcoholperday.
Aquarterofthisconsumption(24.8%)wasunrecorded,i.e.,
homemadealcohol,illegallyproducedorsoldoutsidenormal
governmentcontrols.Oftotalrecordedalcoholconsumed
worldwide,50.1%wasconsumedintheformofspirits.
Worldwide61.7%ofthepopulationaged15yearsorolder
(15+)hadnotdrunkalcoholinthepast12months.Inall
WHOregions,femalesaremoreoftenlifetimeabstainersthan
males.Thereisaconsiderablevariationinprevalenceof
abstentionacrossWHOregions.
Worldwideabout16.0%ofdrinkersaged15yearsorolder
engageinheavyepisodicdrinking.
Ingeneral,thegreatertheeconomicwealthofacountry,the
morealcoholisconsumedandthesmallerthenumberof
abstainers.Highincomecountrieshavethehighestalcohol
percapitaconsumption(APC)andthehighestprevalenceof
heavyepisodicdrinkingamongdrinkers.
2. Healthconsequences
In2012,about3.3millionnetdeaths,or5.9%ofallglobal
deaths,wereattributabletoalcoholconsumption.
Therearesignificantsexdifferencesintheproportionof
globaldeathsattributabletoalcohol,forexample,in2012
7.6%ofdeathsamongmalesand4%ofdeathsamong
femaleswereattributabletoalcohol.
In2012139millionnetDALYs(disabilityadjustedlifeyears),
or5.1%oftheglobalburdenofdiseaseandinjury,were
attributabletoalcoholconsumption.
Thereisalsowidegeographicalvariationintheproportionof
alcoholattributabledeathsandDALYs,withthehighest
http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/alcohol/en/

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9/17/2016

WHO|Alcohol

alcoholattributablefractionsreportedintheWHOEuropean
Region.
3. Policiesandinterventions
Alcoholpoliciesaredevelopedwiththeaimofreducing
harmfuluseofalcoholandthealcoholattributablehealthand
socialburdeninapopulationandinsociety.Suchpolicies
canbeformulatedattheglobal,regional,multinational,
nationalandsubnationallevel.
Delegationsfromall193MemberStatesofWHOreached
consensusattheWorldHealthAssemblyin2010onaWHO
Globalstratgytoreducetheharmfuluseofalcohol.
ManyWHOMemberStateshavedemonstratedincreased
leadershipandcommitmenttoreducingharmfuluseof
alcoholoverthepastyears.
Asignificantlyhigherpercentageofthereportingcountries
indicatedhavingwrittennationalalcoholpoliciesand
imposingstricterbloodalcoholconcentrationlimitsin2012
thanin2008.

http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/alcohol/en/

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