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Alcohol – On a Global Scale

Alcoholism is taking over as the biggest killer, worldwide.  Playing a part in 4% of deaths around the globe, the number seems minimal, but it is in the lead when compared to violence and HIV/AIDS.  Because of the rising economy in heavily-populated countries in Asia and Africa, binge drinking has become a very large concern among these developing countries, like India.  With bigger problems to deal with, these countries have not given much thought to creating alcohol treatment facilities to provide addiction to help, but the United Nations is stepping in to point out that the drinking situation is getting out of hand.

The alcohol policies and laws are weak.  It is expected that they will remain a very low priority for governments, as there are too many other pressing issues these countries are dealing with, despite the sad toll alcohol’s effects are having on their people.  They are now seeing a dramatic rise in drunk driving accidents, disease, child neglect and  domestic violence.  Countries that could boast hard-working people are now seeing job-absenteeism climb at an alarming rate.  Alcohol treatment needs to be as much a part of their society as their grocery supplier. 

Globally, 2.5 million people meet their fate due to alcohol-related incidents.  Males aged 15-59 are the most at-risk for the world’s leading cause of death among men.  In Russia, one in five who die is due to alcohol.  That statistic is no joke.  Alcohol is a legal killer.  Abuse is global and it is taking lives of millions per year. 

Alcohol consumption in general is not the concern, it is the excessive drinking (also known as binge drinking) that is bringing on the perilous behaviorisms in places like Mexico, Brazil and the Ukraine that is leading to more violence and death.  Eleven percent of people worldwide are drinking heavily on a weekly basis.  Men are drinking more than women with a ratio of 4:1.  This statistic is true for all regions; men are more at-risk for alcoholism than women.  There is a dire need of expert addiction help to penetrate these countries that will soon spin out of control and suffer even more loss.  Many have no access to adequate, let alone exceptional  alcohol treatment.

What can be done?  So far, health ministers are working with governments to try and lower the percentage of binge drinkers in these countries.  Higher taxes and tightening the rules on marketing for alcoholic beverages is a start, but an alcoholic can take desperate measures to get their drug.  That is why it is so important to place alcohol treatment clinics where users can easily access assistance.  Addiction help is the key, tightening marketing and raising taxes on alcohol are not going to solve this issue.

With alcoholism, disease is more prevalent.  Epilepsy, Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer are becoming more common in these places.  Less than a decade ago, there were no solid studies that linked alcoholism to certain types of cancer, but with advances in the medical realm, these published reports cannot be ignored.  There is also a problem with homemade alcohol, much of which is illegally created because it cannot be controlled and/or taxed properly by the government.  This type of alcohol, surprisingly, is estimated to make up about 30% of what is consumed worldwide by adults.  However, much of Europe, which is heavily-populated, remains low in numbers for alcoholism and drinking patterns there remain moderate.  Moderate drinking can still contribute to strokes and heart attacks.

Laws will slowly continue to evolve to curb alcoholism.  Taxes will raise and the legal drinking age will remain high, and will probably be raised in areas that lack strict purchasing laws.  Enforcement of these alcohol policies will also become stronger so that those who choose to break the law will be held accountable for their actions.  Sporting events are restricting and even outlawing alcohol beverages at their concession stands.  Those who appear under the influence of alcohol above the legal limit will be denied access into the event.

A big concern is that high taxing of alcohol will drive addicts to not seek alcohol treatment, but to start creating the beverage in their own home for consumption and even sale.  These concoctions are often ill-made and will bring about bigger health concerns than just alcoholism and the general negative effects that go with it.  Alcohol treatment needs to be taken seriously in these countries, applied, funded and enforced for those who want and need addiction help.

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