TORONTO, May 7, 2019 - Alcohol use is responsible for about 3 million deaths worldwide each year. In 2015, the United Nations and the World Health Organization issued an urgent call for the reduction of alcohol use as one of their main objectives. These goals are intended to serve as a shared blueprint for all countries to improve human health and living conditions by 2030.
Unfortunately, according to a new study in The Lancet led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto (CAMH), the goal to reduce alcohol use globally is not likely to be met.
Some key findings from the study on global alcohol consumption trends from 1990 projected to 2030 show that:
- The percentage of people consuming alcohol globally is projected to increase from 45 per cent to 50 per cent.
- The percentage of lifetime alcohol abstainers is projected to decrease from 46 per cent to 40 per cent.
- The percentage of heavy episodic drinkers (at least 60 grams of pure alcohol, which is about 4-5 Canadian standard drinks at a time in the last 30 days) is projected to increase from 18 per cent to 23 per cent.
“Global increases are mainly being driven by countries such as China and India that have significant populations where alcohol consumption is on the rise. In other countries there have been marked declines,” said senior author Dr. Jürgen Rehm, CAMH Senior Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research & Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute.
In Canada, rates has been stable, with a small decline in alcohol consumption observed in the past few years. However, a deeper look at the data reveals that alcohol-related hospitalizations have increased in recent years, particularly among lower socioeconomic groups. These co-occurring trends demonstrate that alcohol consumption should be monitored at the general and sub-population level.
The study also finds that there are specific public policy initiatives that have been proven effective in reducing the burden of disease from alcohol.
“It is very clear from the data that countries who implemented alcohol control policies showed marked decreases in consumption and related increases in life expectancy,” said Rehm. “For example, since Russia began implementing a series of alcohol control measures in 2005, including significantly increasing the price of alcohol via taxation, raising the minimum price, reducing hours of sale and banning advertising, there has been a drastic increase in life expectancy, particularly for men, and a significant decrease in hospitalizations.”
While the study paints a bleak picture for countries who are not meeting the goal of reducing alcohol use and associated health harms, it also demonstrates that those who implement control policies will see a reduction in both the amount of alcohol consumed and its associated health consequences and mortality.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Sean O'Malley, Media Relations, CAMH, 416-595-6015 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE CENTRE FOR ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit camh.ca or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.
Manthey, J., Shield, K., Rylett, M., Hasan, O.S.M, Probst, C., & Rehm, J. (2019). Alcohol exposure between 1990 and 2017 and forecasts until 2030: a global modelling study. Lancet. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32744-2