New Report Finds Alcohol Remains As Deadly As Ever

By McCarton Ackerman 05/19/15

Alcohol deaths top HIV/AIDS, violence, and tuberculosis combined.

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Alcohol abuse still remains a severe problem globally, with a new report claiming that alcohol kills more people annually worldwide than HIV, AIDS, violence, and tuberculosis combined.

The shocking findings came from the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which examined patterns of alcohol consumption in its 34 member states. The authors noted that “harmful drinking is on the rise among young people and women,” with 43% of all boys 15 or younger having been drunk at least once in 2012, compared to 30% in the 2000s.

The average alcohol consumption per person in the OECD states came out to 100 bottles of wine per year. Estonia had the highest alcohol consumption per capita, with the average person drinking 3.25 gallons of alcohol per year. Rounding out the top five were Austria, France, Ireland, and Czech Republic.

France also ranked at the top when it came to binge drinking in European countries. Hospital admissions for binge drinking among young drinkers rose by 30% between 2010 and 2013. The country recently instituted a new law this past April which made inciting binge drinking an offense punishable by a large fine or up to a year in jail.

The report also noted significant consumption increased in Russia, Brazil, China, and India. A separate report released last week found that alcohol consumption in India had increased by 55% since 1992. The OECD study cites easier availability and greater affordability of alcohol in these countries with the increase in consumption.

Despite the rise in alcohol consumption in many of the OECD member states, overall alcohol consumption among these 34 states has fallen by 2.5% between 1992 and 2012. The average consumption is now 2.4 gallons of pure alcohol per capita, which is slightly above the U.S. average of 2.27 gallons. The U.S. landed in the middle of the pack for overall alcohol consumption per person, with an average of 85 bottles a year.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.