Rise in Women Drinking Alcohol Notable in Recent Studies

A recent study coming out of Canada showed that 1 in 25 deaths worldwide are attributed to alcohol. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) researchers concluded that a rise since 2000 was due to more women in the world drinking alcohol. Most of the deaths caused by alcohol were through injuries, cancer, cardiovascular disease and liver cirrhosis.

Here are some of the key findings of the study:

  • Even though most adults worldwide abstain from drinking alcohol, consumption is common in many parts of the world
  • For low-income countries, there is a strong relation between economic wealth and alcohol consumption: the higher the gross domestic product, the higher the overall volume of consumption and the lower the proportions of abstainers
  • Alcohol contributes substantially to the global burden of disease (4% of total mortality and between 4% and 5% of disability-adjusted life-years), and thus is one of the largest avoidable risk factors
  • Poor populations and low-income countries have an even greater disease burden per unit of alcohol consumption than do high-income populations and countries
  • The consequences attributable to alcohol account for large costs to societies; they are not limited to health-care costs, but also include costs related to social harm

This last point was illustrated well in a recent CASA report. [CASA Spending Report Shows Maine Has Highest Burden of Substance Abuse and Addiction on a State Budget]

Read more about the CAMH study: New study shows 1 in 25 deaths worldwide attributable to alcohol

In other research news, women were also found to be binge drinking more in the United States, especially in college. The Washington University School of Medicine studied data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found an overall reduction in binge drinking between 1979 and 2006. However, in that time period, binge drinking for women ages 21 – 23 rose by 20% among non-students and a whopping 40% among college students. Most of the actual reductions in binge drinking came among males younger than 20. Researchers credited the 21 and over national drinking law as the cause for reduced binge drinking by teens. Of course, binge drinking rates for women ages 15 – 20 were unchanged.

Read more about the Washington University School of Medicine study: Higher drinking age linked to less binge drinking…except in college students

It is clear from both of these studies that more women are drinking at unhealthy rates and with unhealthy consequences. What seems to be missing from the studies is the why and what to do about it.

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