OECD: Health at a Glance 2015November 05, 2015
The health burden related to harmful alcohol consumption, both in terms of morbidity and mortality, is considerable in most parts of the world (Rehm et al., 2009; WHO, 2014; OECD, 2015). Alcohol use is associated with numerous harmful health and social consequences, including an increased risk of a range of cancers, stroke, and liver cirrhosis, among others. Foetal exposure to alcohol increases the risk of birth defects and intellectual impairment. Alcohol also contributes to death and disability through accidents and injuries, assault, violence, homicide and suicide. The use of alcohol is estimated to cause more than 3.3 million deaths worldwide per year, and accounts for 5.1% of the global burden of disease (WHO, 2014). Health care costs associated with excessive drinking in the United States are estimated at USD 25.6 billion (Bouchery et al., 2011). In the Russian Federation, alcohol misuse was a major contributing factor to the sharp rise in premature mortality and decline in life expectancy during the 1990s (OECD, 2012). The use of alcohol also has broader societal consequences, accounting for large losses in work productivity through absenteeism and premature mortality, as well as injuries and death among non-drinkers (e.g. because of traffic accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol).