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Alcohol Deaths: WHO Says 3.3M Total Equals One Death Every 10 Seconds

By Nick Sanchez   |   Tuesday, 13 May 2014 12:23 PM

Alcohol-related deaths totaled 3.3 million worldwide in 2012 according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report released Monday.

"This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds," said Shekhar Saxena, head of the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, according to Time magazine.

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That number rose from 2011's report, which calculated 2.5 million deaths among the 38 percent of people who drink alcohol across the globe. That set off alarms for the organization.

"More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption," said Dr. Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. "The report clearly shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing the harmful use of alcohol."

With the release of the report, the WHO called for increasing taxes on alcohol and limiting its availability to older citizens. They also recommended increased educational efforts for lower-income groups.

"Lower-income groups are more affected by the social and health consequences of alcohol. They often lack quality healthcare and are less protected by functional family or community networks," said Saxena.

The WHO is also particularly concerned with the 16 percent of drinkers who could be categorized as binge drinkers, saying they might need intervention and/or treatment.

Researchers also assessed alcohol harm by demographic, showing that 7 percent of men's deaths and 4 percent of women's are alcohol related.

Alcohol consumption has remained stable across Europe — which drinks the most per capita — the Americas, and Africa, but has increased in South East Asia and the Western Pacific.

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