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Alcohol Binge: Europe Tops the Losers’ League

  • October 31st, 2006
  • Posted by 7thmin

eu-alcohol-club-scene.jpgNew figures released by the European Union show Europe has become the heaviest-drinking region of the world … suffering two-hundred-thousand early deaths through alcohol each year.

Europeans are drinking, on average, eleven litres of pure alcohol annually, equaling fourteen hundred small beers, or standard drinks, each.

The survey on alcohol use, or abuse, in 31 countries, was released by the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou, who took issue with the alcohol industry, and promised future action to try to allay the problem.

• 55 million adults are estimated to drink at harmful levels in the European Union countries (with some 400 million inhabitants)
• Harmful alcohol use is the third largest cause of early death or illness, after tobacco and blood pressure, (overweight, cholesterol and physical inactivity following, and together more than doubling the number for alcohol)
• More than one in four traffic accidents, and more than one in four deaths among young men, 15-29 years, are alcohol related.
• Sixty different diseases or health conditions were implicated, with indications of extraordinarily high incidence of cirrhosis of the liver.
• Consumption ranged from high consumption countries, over 15 litres per capita, including Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Ireland and Luxembourg; to low consumption countries, under 10 litres, Turkey, Malta, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Mr Kyprianou told journalists (24.10.06) the level of consumption, though high, had actually slipped; the trouble had become binge drinking, taking-on among the young, as in many places world-wide.

He said product promotion was a major factor, and he was demanding that the alcohol industry, which had wanted consultation, would join with authorities in finding solutions to the problem.

He was organising consultations on a Europe-wide basis targeting alcohol abuse.

“It’s a challenge for industry especially after all this lobbying they have been doing, to prove they are really committed to work with the Commission and the member states to tackle this problem of alcohol-related harm.

“The big challenge here is information, to answer how this can be achieved in the best possible way, and again it is a question of abuse of the product, which makes information even more complicated,” he said.

Mr Kyprianou said changes would begin with better awareness campaigns, bridging differences from country to country, in culture, types of alcohol preferred, and levels of use.

(This report is archived under EUAustralia- Youth Affairs)

Picture: stock.schng