Alcohol bigger killer than HIV, expert says

10:30 AEST Fri Feb 17 2012
Alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people worldwide each year (Thinkstock)
Alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people worldwide each year (Thinkstock)
Alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people worldwide each year, according to the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH).

The shocking statistic has led university lecturer in global health politics, Dr Devi Sridhar, to call for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to put policies in place to regulate alcohol consumption on a global level.

Dr Sridhar claims that the number of deaths caused by alcohol is higher than other diseases that the WHO put policies in place for, including tobacco and HIV/AIDS.

In a recent paper published in Nature, Sridhar said about 2.5 million deaths a year, almost four per cent of all deaths worldwide, were attributed to alcohol - more than the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria.

Although WHO has long been pointing out the damage that alcohol can do, Sridhar suggests WHO should enforce regulations such as a minimum drinking age, zero-tolerance drunken driving, and bans on unlimited drink specials on a global level.

Dr Ihsan Salloum, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, said although recent high-profile alcohol-related deaths, such as singer Amy Winehouse, have increased awareness of alcohol more needed to be done.

"If we can get countries around the world to agree on these types of strategies, we can have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality," Dr Salloum said.

He said the physical injuries that are incurred through drink-driving, such as car accidents, physical violence and suicides, and the 60-odd diseases caused by alcohol should be enough reason to set a global policy.

In New Zealand, studies show between 600 and 1000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes.

User comments
i perfer tea any day ,but youth need to control thier drinking
I'll drink to that
THATS COS 2.5 million woman a year cant handle there ***!

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