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Oxford Academic Wants WHO To Regulate Booze

The World Health Organization should enforce alcohol age laws and limits, argues a global health policy lecturer.


Should WHO have the power? Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda


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Dr. Devi Sridhar, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Oxford, England wants the World Health Organization to regulate global alcohol use. “About 2.5 million deaths a year, almost 4 percent of all deaths worldwide, are attributed to alcohol—more than the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria,” she writes in the journal Nature. “The WHO is the only body with the legitimacy and authority to proactively promote health through the use of international law.” Sridhar, who lectures on global health policies, believes that the WHO should view drinking as a global epidemic and wants it to treat alcohol use the same way it treats tobacco use. Back in 2010, the WHO published a document, WHO Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol, listing recommendations to forbid unlimited drinking promotions and put an age minimum on alcohol purchases. Sridhar believes these recommendations should become a legal requirement, and that there should be an international consensus on ways to reduce problematic drinking. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive drinking costs the country billions of dollars in losses for alcohol-related illness, accidents and reductions in workplace productivity.

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