Alcohol causes 195,000 deaths per year in
Europe says the European Commission.
We need to “to protect young people and children; reduce injuries and deaths from alcohol-related road accidents; prevent harm among adults and reduce the negative impact on the economy; raise awareness of the impact on health of harmful alcohol consumption; and help gather reliable statistics.” Says the press release.
To achieve these aims the Commission is aiming to provide finance for “exchanging good practice on issues such as curbing under-age drinking, exploring cooperation on information campaigns or tackling drink-driving and other Community initiatives.”
The Commission notes action that member states are taking and need to be expanded “ . . . with a view to promoting good practice, … an Alcohol and Health Forum of interested parties and sets out areas where industry can make a contribution, notably in the area of responsible advertising and marketing.”
European Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: “Binge drinking, under-age drinking and drink-driving are real public health issues in Europe, especially among young people. The Commission is not targeting moderate alcohol consumption, but seeks to actively support Member States measures to reduce the harm caused by alcohol abuse.”
A major health and economic impact
Fifty-five million adults are estimated to drink to hazardous levels in the EU. Harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption is a net cause of 7.4 % of all ill-health and early death in the EU. Absenteeism due to hazardous alcohol use, drinking during working hours, or working with a “hangover” all have a negative impact on work performance, and thereby on competitiveness and productivity. In the age group of 15–29 years over 10% of female mortality and around 25% of male mortality are due to hazardous alcohol consumption.
This is also the cause in 16% of cases of child abuse and neglect. Exposure to alcohol during pregnancy can impair brain development and is associated with intellectual deficits. Approximately one accident in four can be attributed to alcohol consumption, and about 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-related road accidents in the EU each year.