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3.3 Million Deaths were tied to Alcohol in 2012, WHO Reports

Update Date: May 13, 2014 09:57 AM EDT

According to a new report compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012, more than three million people died due to alcohol-related reasons. The agency has stressed the importance of all nations to up their efforts in limiting the fatal effects of drinking.

"More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption," said Dr. Oleg Chestnov, a WHO expert on chronic disease and mental health, reported by Philly. "[There is] no room for complacency."

The researchers estimated that if everyone aged 15 and older drank alcohol, each person would consume an average of 6.2 liters of pure alcohol per year based on the yearly total of alcohol-consumed. However, the researchers know that not every single person drinks alcohol. When they examined the number of people who drink, they found that only 38.3 percent of the world's population consumes alcohol. This means that each individual consumes an average of 17 liters of pure alcohol each year.

"We found that worldwide about 16 percent of drinkers engage in heavy episodic drinking - often referred to as 'binge-drinking' - which is the most harmful to health," said Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director for mental health and substance abuse at the WHO.

The researchers also reported that poorer people were generally more affected by the negative consequences of alcohol due to lack of medical care and the lack of a good social network. Overall, the team reported that in 2012, 3.3 million died from alcohol-related causes. The study, which examined 194 countries, tied alcohol use to the increased risk of more than 200 diseases, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.

The report also found that while some countries have been working to limit alcohol use through taxes and age restrictions, other countries still need to do more. The news release, "WHO calls on governments to do more to prevent alcohol-related deaths and diseases," can be accessed here.

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