Story from The Globe And Mail. Image Source: Thinkstock Images
I don’t think I’m alone in enjoying a particularly stiff beverage after a long day at work. It’s a pretty widely accepted way (at least around these parts) to unwind (or get wound up, as the case may be). However, it’s also a particularly dangerous activity (if you don’t know your limit, or are prone to misadventure).
More than three million people died from using alcohol in 2012, for reasons ranging from cancer to violence, the World Health Organization said on Monday, as it called on governments to do more to limit the damage.
“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” said Oleg Chestnov, a WHO expert on chronic disease and mental health.
He added there was “no room for complacency,” warning that drinking too much kills more men then women, raises people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases, and killed 3.3 million people in 2012.
On average, according to the WHO report, every person in the world aged 15 years or older drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol per year. But less than half the population – 38.3 per cent – drinks, so those who do drink on average 17 litres of pure alcohol a year.
17 litres of pure alcohol. Doesn’t necessarily sound like much until you really start thinking about it. A 40 oz. bottle of booze equates to about 1.18 litres, but most spirits are 35-40% alcohol. So with a 1.18 L bottle of say, 40% vodka, there is 0.472 litres of pure alcohol. So essentially that would be the same as drinking 36 bottles of vodka.
For some people, that’s just another weekend… But for others, it can be deadly, as this study shows.
Where you are in the world can have a huge effect on your likelihood of dying in an alcohol-related manner.
Globally, Europe consumes the most alcohol per person. Some of its countries having particularly high rates of harmful drinking.
A study published earlier this year found that a quarter of all Russian men die before they reach their mid-fifties, largely from drinking to excess. Some men in that study reported drinking three or more bottles of vodka a week.
Three bottles of vodka a week? That works out to 156 bottles a year (if the person were to keep up the pace), or 4.3 times the global average.
Then again, keep in mind this is Russia. Up until January 1st, 2013, beer wasn’t even classified as an alcoholic beverage. They classified it as food, and you could get it just about anywhere (street kiosks, gas stations and bus depots, among other places), and I’ve read that often Russians wouldn’t think twice about getting behind the wheel after a few wobbly pops. However, Russia has since changed its regulations (like many other countries are also doing).
Fortunately, around these parts, the effects of alcohol are pretty well known, and most people are good at keeping their drinking in check.
However, you still occasionally hear of people who have died thanks to years of hard boozing, or because they got behind the wheel after a night out on the town. Most of the time, these deaths are preventable, which is pretty sad.
Then occasionally you hear a story about someone NEARLY drank themselves to death and are now changed because of that. Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley recently made headlines for that reason. Let his story be a reminder to drink responsibly.