Sydney Morning Herald 13 May 2014
Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined, the World Health Organisation said on Monday, warning that booze consumption was on the rise.
Including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse, and a multitude of diseases and disorders, alcohol causes one in 20 deaths globally every year, the UN health agency said.
“This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds,” Shekhar Saxena, who heads the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, told reporters in Geneva.
Alcohol caused some 3.3 million deaths in 2012, WHO said, equivalent to 5.9 per cent of global deaths (7.6 per cent for men and 4.0 per cent for women).
In comparison, HIV/AIDS is responsible for 2.8 per cent, tuberculosis causes 1.7 per cent of deaths and violence is responsible for just 0.9 per cent, the study showed.
More people in countries where alcohol consumption has traditionally been low, like China and India, are also increasingly taking up the habit as their wealth increases, it said.
“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” Oleg Chestnov of the WHO’s Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health unit said in a statement launching a massive report on global alcohol consumption and its impact on public health.