2.6 million deaths per year tied to alcohol consumption, World Health Organization says

209 million people worldwide lived with alcohol dependency in 2019, representing about 2.7% of the total global population.
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Posted at 2:44 PM, Jun 27, 2024

A new report prepared by the World Health Organization said there are 2.6 million global deaths per year tied to alcohol consumption. The report says alcohol consumption led to 4.7% of all deaths, based on 2019 data.

The information was contained in the WHO’s global status report on alcohol and health and treatment of substance use disorders. The report also showed that there are about 600,000 deaths annually tied to psychoactive drug use.

The World Health Organization said 209 million people worldwide lived with alcohol dependency, representing about 2.7% of the total global population.

"Substance use severely harms 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," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general. "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."

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The report found that deaths tied to alcohol consumption were higher in Europe and Africa than Asia and the Americas. Out of the 2.6 million fatalities related to alcohol consumption, 1.6 million were from noncommunicable diseases, including 474,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 401,000 from cancer, the WHO said.

The WHO found that 724,000 deaths were due to injuries, such as those from traffic crashes, self-harm and violence. Alcohol consumption was also tied to risky behavior that led to 284,000 deaths related to communicable diseases.

The report found that the United States had the highest rate of heavy drinkers in the Americas, as 6.7% of those above age 15 are considered heavy drinkers. The U.S. heavy drinking rate was above Italy's rate of 4.8%, but below Spain's rate of 7.7%, Germany's 8.8% and France's 8.1%.

The United States had 149,867 deaths tied to alcohol consumption in 2019, the data found. The U.S. death rate tied to alcohol consumption was 31.2 fatalities per 100,000 people. Globally, 32.3 out of 100,000 people died from alcohol in 2019, the report found.