A new report from the World Health Organization says that alcohol is responsible for 3.3 million deaths every single year, or 5.9 percent of all deaths globally. The WHO has counted more than 200 health conditions related to alcohol consumption, which also makes people more susceptible to diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and pneumonia.
While the WHO says there has been some progress since the last report on alcohol was published in 2011, they say “there is no room for complacency given the enormous public health burden attributable to alcohol consumption.”
Europe has the largest percentage of alcohol consumption of any region in the world. But while the financial cost of alcohol consumption in the European Union in 2009 was an estimated $172.11 billion, in the United States, alcohol abuse cost the economy $233.5 billion in 2006. Levels of drinking in Europe, Africa, and the Americas has remained steady for the last 5 years, but South-East Asia and the Western Pacific have reported increased drinking. Lower-income countries have higher rates of pure alcohol consumption than higher income countries, the report finds.
While the report finds that people over the age of 15 drink an average of 6.2 liters of pure alcohol every year, that number more than doubles to 17 liters a years considering less than half the global population drinks alcohol.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.