A startling new report from the World Health Organization shows the impact of drinking across the globe. According to their studies, 1 in 20 people who died has been impacted by alcohol, whether they die from an accident or disease.
Alcohol is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis, some forms of heart disease and some cancers. It also can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as pneumonia. For people under the age of 30, death caused by alcohol often comes in the form of an accident. People with alcohol use disorders often hurt themselves when they’re drinking, and that’s a common cause of death, especially in the United States, where in 2015, 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Centers for Disease Control says that binge drinking is the most common form of alcohol abuse, with about one in six US adults binging four times a month, and on average they consume about seven drinks per binge. Binge drinking is most common among young people aged 18–34 years. Still, half of the binge drinking in the US is done by people who are older.
The WHO says about 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol use disorders. Nearly 11.5 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women in the Americas drink dangerously. The good news is that well over half of the world’s population over the age of 15 abstaining completely. Younger people are drinking less than they had in previous generations, although marijuana use is going up.
“Far too many people, their families, and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
“It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies,” he added.