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Alcohol and drug use kills more than 3 million people a year, says WHO

More than 3 million people die each year due to the consumption of alcohol and psychoactive drugs, according to a new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO). The majority of deaths occurred among men, according to the document.

Of the total annual deaths, 2.6 million are related to alcohol consumption, and another 600 thousand, to the use of psychoactive drugs. O “WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders” provides a comprehensive update on the public health impact of alcohol and drug use, based on 2019 data.

Furthermore, the document provides an overview of the situation regarding the consumption of substances and alcoholic beverages around the world.

According to the survey, around 400 million people lived with alcohol and drug use disorders worldwide in 2019. Of this total, 209 million were alcohol dependent. Of the total deaths, men were the most affected: 2 million men died due to alcohol use and 400,000 due to drug use.

“Substance use seriously harms individual health, increasing the risk of chronic diseases, mental health conditions and tragically resulting in millions of preventable deaths every year. This places a heavy burden on families and communities, increasing exposure to accidents, injuries and violence,” says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“To build a healthier and more equitable society, we must urgently commit to bold actions that reduce the negative health and societal consequences of alcohol consumption and make treatment for substance use disorders accessible and affordable.”

The report highlights the need to accelerate global action to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.5 by 2030, which includes reducing alcohol and drug use and improving access to quality treatment for substance use disorders. substances.

Number of deaths from alcohol remains high

The data shows that, although alcohol-related mortality rates have decreased since 2010, the total number of deaths remains high, especially in Europe and Africa. According to the document, mortality rates due to alcohol per liter of alcohol consumed are higher in low-income countries and lower in rich countries.

The document also shows that, of all deaths attributable to alcohol in 2019, around 1.6 million were from non-communicable diseases, including 474,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 401,000 from cancer. Around 724,000 deaths were due to injuries, such as those from car accidents, self-harm and interpersonal violence.

Another 284,000 deaths were related to communicable diseases, such as HIV (alcohol consumption can increase the risk of transmitting the virus, according to the report). The highest proportion (13%) of deaths attributable to alcohol in 2019 was among young people aged 20 to 39.

Average alcohol consumption is associated with various health risks

The report also showed that, despite the high rate of deaths attributed to alcohol, the per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages in the world population decreased slightly from 5.7 liters in 2010 to 5.5 liters in 2019. The highest levels of per capita consumption in 2019 were observed in the WHO European Region (9.2 liters) and in the Region of the Americas (7.5 liters).

The level of alcohol consumption per capita among drinkers is, on average, 27 grams of pure alcohol per day, which is approximately equivalent to two glasses of wine, two bottles of beer or two portions of spirits. According to the document, this level and frequency of alcohol consumption is associated with increased risks of numerous health conditions and associated mortality and disability.

In 2019, 38% of current drinkers had engaged in heavy episodic drinking, characterized by consuming at least 60 grams of pure alcohol (equivalent to 4 or 5 glasses of wine, bottles of beer or servings of spirits) in one or more occasions in the month prior to data collection. Continuous heavy alcohol consumption was more prevalent in men and among young people aged 15 to 19 in Europe (45.9%) and the Americas (43.9%).

Treatment coverage for substance use disorders is still low

The WHO report also showed that substance use treatment coverage remains low. According to the document, the proportion of people in contact with drug treatment services varied from less than 1% to a maximum of 35% in 2019, in the countries that provide this data.

According to the study, the majority of the 145 countries that reported data on the subject did not have a specific budget line or data on government expenditure for the treatment of disorders related to substance use. Furthermore, almost half of responding countries reported that they do not offer support groups for the treatment of these conditions, despite being a useful resource.

For the WHO, stigma, discrimination and misconceptions about the effectiveness of treatment contribute to these treatment gaps, as well as the low prioritization of substance use disorders by health and development agencies.

Drinking on weekends may indicate compulsive alcohol consumption

Source: CNN Brasil

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