Sharp drop in drink deaths follows alcohol price rise

At the same time, a 10 percent increase in the number of private liquor stores was associated with a two percent rise in acute, chronic, and total alcohol associated death rates.

According to one Russian scientist his country leads the world in Alcohol related deaths. Why would he say that if it were not true? Many other countries have Alcohol problems as severe as Russia’s, so why isn’t this reflected in the world rankings? See how your country ranks in the chart below…

The international standard for cause of death data is ICD-10. Without standardization cross cultural comparisons could not be made. But when it comes to ranking death rates for Alcohol the process appears to favor some countries over others in the world rankings. The ICD-10 code doesn’t measure what you and I think of as a death caused by alcohol, it measures Alcohol Abuse Disorders, which includes everything from violence to heart disease. There is little doubt expanding how we measure the role Alcohol plays in our lives is a good thing, but the countries that follow the reporting rules shouldn’t pay the price for those who don’t, especially for something like Alcohol. Leading the world in Alcohol related deaths is embarrassing. It strikes at the “heart and soul” of a country’s reputation. Several countries appear to rank higher than they deserve because they didn’t make adjustments to their data to protect their image. In order to have meaningful international standards everyone must play by the same rules. If Alcohol is a disease of the body then where does the chain of abuse begin if not with consumption?

Stockwell said the reason for the lower death rates were likely to be due to the fact that raising the price of cheaper drinks makes heavy drinkers drink less.

More than 100,000 deaths per year are attributed to alcohol, in the United States. Alcohol-related auto accidents account for approximately 24,000 of these deaths (most often the victims are under 30 years of age), while alcohol-related homicide account for 11,000 and suicide 8,000 deaths. Certain types of cancer, which are partly associated with the consumption of alcohol, contribute to another 17,000 deaths. Alcohol-related strokes are responsible for 9,000 deaths. 25,000 lost lives are due to 12 alcohol-related diseases including cirrhosis of the liver. All these deaths combined are the equivalent of 200 jumbo jetliners crashing and taking the lives of everyone onboard, in just one year. Such numbers are staggering until you realize that it is Coronary Heart Disease that is the number one killer in the United States, not alcohol. There are roughly 900,000 persons admitted to U.S. hospitals for strokes annually and 830,00 admitted for Congestive Heart Failure. Though they are not always fatal, these diseases will leave its victims at varying levels of incapacitation.

Earlier research conducted by the same team and published in January last year found that each 10 percent increase in the minimum price of alcohol led people to drink 3.4 percent less alcohol overall.


By Kate Kelland

Page 2 of 21 2

Provided by ArmMed Media