Alcohol consumption has risen by a staggering amount in the last 30 years

By 2030 Europe will no longer account for the majority of alcohol consumers. Now low-and middle-income regions are responsible for much of the surges.

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A massive new study that appeared in The Lancet, discovered a considerable surge in individual alcohol consumption across the globe.

Based on the rates analyzed in the study’s test period, the researchers were able to estimate statistics going into 2030. Examining data sourced by The World Health Organization and the Global Burden Of Disease Study, which themselves reviewed  189 countries, between the years, 1991 and 2017, researchers found that the total volume of alchohol consumed annually has risen by 70%; from 20, 999 liters, which was average back in 1991, to 35, 676 which is the median reported in 2017.

Jakob Manthey, the study’s first author begs policymakers not to take these figures lightly, considering all of the serious health conditions that are associated with excess alcohol consumption.


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A shift in demographic factors

“Before 1990, most alcohol was consumed in high-income countries, with the highest use levels recorded in Europe. However, this pattern has changed substantially, with large reductions across Eastern Europe and vast increases in several middle-income countries, such as China, India, and Vietnam,” Manthey told Medical News Today.

Manthey predicts, by 2030 Europe will no longer account for the majority of alcohol consumers. Currently, low-and middle-income regions are responsible for much of the surges. By 2030, 23% of the population is forecasted to engage in binge drinking once a month. Binge-drinking, for the purposes of the study, is defined as consumption that exceeds 60 grams of pure alcohol during a single sitting.

Perhaps the most worrying feature of the study, suggests that binge drinking is rising at a faster rate than the total volume of alcohol consumed. Per capita, the amount of alcohol consumption is expected to reach 7.6 liters, by the year 2030. Alcohol presents risk factors for so many defects and illnesses, saying nothing of its influence on motor vehicle mortality rates, and domestic violence instances. Over 10,800 people were killed in alcoholimpaired crashes in 2017.   The American Psychological Association,  reports that heavy use of alcohol is intimately linked to instances of violent and aggressive behavior.

Manthey said, “Alcohol use will remain one of the leading risk factors for the burden of disease for the foreseeable future, and its impact will probably increase, relative to other risk factors. Implementation of effective alcohol policies is warranted, especially in rapidly developing countries with growing rates of alcohol use.”

Policy makers have to put some kinds of measures in place to accommodate for the celerity at which these figures are rising. The study concludes, “Based on these data, global goals for reducing the harmful use of alcohol are unlikely to be achieved, and known effective and cost-effective policy measures should be implemented to reduce alcohol exposure.”


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.