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WHO says 2.6m die annually due to alcohol, drug use

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The  World Health Organisation (WHO) report says that 2.6 million deaths per year were attributable to alcohol consumption, accounting for 4.7 per cent of all deaths.

WHO, in a statement on Tuesday, said that alcohol consumption also accounted for 0.6 million deaths to psychoactive drug use.

According to it, notably, 2 million of alcohol and 0.4 million of drug-attributable deaths were among men.

“WHO’s Global status report on alcohol and health and treatment of substance use disorders provides a comprehensive update based on 2019 data on the public health impact of alcohol

“It also shows drug use and situation with alcohol consumption and treatment of substance use disorders worldwide.

” The report shows that an estimated 400 million people lived with alcohol and drug use disorders globally.

” Of this, 209 million people lived with alcohol dependence,” it said.

Dr Tedros  Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said that substance use severely harmed individual health, increasing the risk of chronic diseases, mental health conditions, and tragically resulting in millions of preventable deaths every year.

“It places a heavy burden on families and communities, increasing exposure to accidents, injuries, and violence.

“To build a healthier, more equitable society, we must urgently commit to bold actions that reduce the negative health and social consequences of alcohol consumption and make treatment for substance use disorders accessible and affordable,” Ghebreyesus said.

According to him, the report highlights the urgent need to accelerate actions globally towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target by 2030 by reducing alcohol and drug consumption and improving access to quality treatment for substance use disorders.

Ghebreyesus said that the report highlighted that in spite of some reduction in the alcohol-related death rates since 2010, the overall number of deaths due to alcohol consumption remained unacceptably high.

He said that it amounted to 2.6 million in 2019, with the highest numbers in the European Region and the African region.

“The death rates due to alcohol consumption per litre of alcohol consumed are highest in low-income countries and lowest in high-income countries.

“Of all deaths attributable to alcohol in 2019, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were from noncommunicable diseases, including 474,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 401,000 from cancer,” he said.

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