SURPRISE: Alcohol takes more lives around the world than AIDS, Tuberculosis and Violence, according to the World Health Organization.
To get an idea the severity of the statement above, consider the following: The AIDS epidemic took 1.8 million lives worldwide in 2009; many nations are currently living in a genocide and Tuberculosis claims 1.5 million lives each year.
How is alcohol taking so many lives? Binge drinking is becoming a global trend in countries with rising incomes such as Asia and Africa (e.g., India, South Africa, etc) and weak alcohol control policies. As a result, these nations are facing a rise in violence, cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, road accidents, and several types of cancer.
Alcohol globally claims 2.5 million lives each year and is especially fatal for younger age groups.
The country with the highest rate of alcohol related deaths is Russia; one in every five deaths is caused by alcohol. Other nations with rising rates include: Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, and Ukraine.
In every country, men outnumber women in engaging in dangerous drinking by four to one.
What is the WHO suggesting? They want to hike prices of alcohol and implement taxes for people who purchase them! While I’m sympathetic for alcohol-related deaths and realize the gravity of the situation, I don’t think increasing the price of alcohol is the solution!
The WHO should use their resources to provide alcohol safety education in countries where binge drinking is becoming an epidemic. Many of these nations have a legal drinking age of 18 and don’t understand the concept of designated drivers or safe alcohol consumption.
Take home message: Drink safely and beware of potential hikes in alcohol prices!
As college students, we are all aware of the binge drinking problem. Students get out of control and drink way beyond their means of digesting and processing alcohol and many end up very sick or dead.
Now that binge drinking has become such a serious health risk around the globe, it should be up to the United States to set more of an example of what NOT to do when drinking alcohol, rather than continue being part of the statistic.