Friday, February 24, 2012

Alcohol Causes More Deaths than HIV/AIDS

A University of Oxford researcher is calling on the World Health Organization to put in place policies that would regulate alcohol use.
Devi Sridhar, a lecturer in global health politics, wrote that WHO should treat dangerous drinking as a global public health crisis, just as the agency treats disease outbreaks and tobacco use.  WHO, she said, requires countries to report outbreaks of certain diseases and also institutes policies requiring member nations to take measures designed to curb tobacco’s supply and demand.
“About 2.5 million deaths a year, almost 4 percent of all deaths worldwide, are attributed to alcohol — more than the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria,” Sridhar wrote in her commentary, published in the journal Nature.
In 2010, WHO published a document, the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol, that included strategies such as prohibiting “unlimited drinks” promotions and instituting a minimum age to purchase alcohol.  These recommendations, Sridhar argued, should become legal requirements.

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