WHO: Alcohol Kills Someone Every 10 Seconds

Total annual toll: 3.3M

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted May 12, 2014 11:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – The World Health Organization today released a new report on alcohol, and it's full of pretty dour stats. Among the most eye-grabbing ones, per the WHO and the AFP:

  • Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year.
  • That's more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and violence—combined.
  • That's equal to 5.9% of all deaths across the planet, or more than one in 20.
  • "This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds," says a WHO rep.

The report encompasses drunk driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse, and related diseases and disorders ("the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions," per the report). The UN health agency also noted that drinking is on the rise in countries that have typically seen low consumption, like China and India, as incomes rise. As far as consumption, take in this stat: When it's divvied up across every person on the planet over the age of 15, the average annual consumption is 1.6 gallons of pure alcohol. When calculated across only those who drink, the average is 4.5 gallons. The WHO would like to see governments do more "to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption." Among its suggestions: use taxes and price levels to lower demand.

A Russian man drinks from a bottle standing in front of a liquor booth in a street in Moscow, Tuesday, March 23, 2010.
A Russian man drinks from a bottle standing in front of a liquor booth in a street in Moscow, Tuesday, March 23, 2010.   (AP Photo)
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