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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

WHO releases global report on alcohol

CAMH contributes to international effort to reduce harms caused by alcohol

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2014, showing that 3.3 million deaths in 2012 were due to harmful use of alcohol.

Although there was a higher incidence of alcohol-related deaths among men than women (7.6% vs 4.0%, respectively), the increased incidence of alcohol use among women, who may be at greater risk of certain alcohol-related health conditions, was flagged as a troubling trend.

As for Canada, the report estimates that 4.1% of Canadians are dependent on alcohol, a higher prevalence than for the WHO Region of the Americas, which is at 3.4%. Prevalence is higher in males than females: 6% of Canadian males 15 years of age and older are estimated to be dependent on alcohol.  When those who use alcohol in a harmful way/have an alcohol use disorder are included, the percentage rises to 10% of Canadian males. The prevalence of Canadian females 15+ years old with an alcohol use disorder is 3.6%.

World-wide, harmful use of alcohol was not only associated with addiction, liver disease, and certain cancers, but also increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

The report is calling for better policies to reduce unhealthy drinking patterns, better national awareness, and improved access to treatment and prevention services in all countries affected by problem drinking.


CAMH, as part of its role as a WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre, monitors alcohol consumption, harm and policy among WHO member states; Dr. Jurgen Rehm, Director and Social and Epidemiological Research Department, project coordinator Margaret Rylett and graduate student Kevin Shield all contributed to several chapters.


Read the full report here.

Dr. Jurgen Rehm
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