Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Alcohol, Tobacco Dwarf Illicit Drugs in Human Health Toll

One in five adults reported at least one bout of heavy alcohol consumption in the past month One in five adults reported at least one bout of heavy alcohol consumption in the past month
Melissa Porter | 12 May, 2018, 14:39

These translated to major health outcomes, according to statistical estimates based on data from the World Health Organization, the United Nationals Office on Drugs and Crime and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

"Estimating the prevalence of use and associated burden of disease and mortality at the country, regional, and global level is critical in quantifying the extent and severity of the burden arising from substance use."

Tobacco is the clear worldwide victor when it comes to drug-related adverse health effects, according to a comprehensive review of data on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and other organizations. Fewer than one in twenty people were estimated to use cannabis in the past year, and much lower estimates were observed for amphetamines, opioids and cocaine. It also said that one in every five adults globally, has admitted to overdosing on alcohol in the past month.

Citing the Global Burden of Disease study from 2015, the researchers note that tobacco use has led to 170.9 million disability-adjusted life-years worldwide. Over the prior year pot, amphetamine, opioid, and cocaine use came in at 4% of the adult population, with a lot of them way under. The researchers examined both the prevalence of drug use as well as the "health burden", in the form of death and disability tied to drugs.

Estimates suggest less than 5 percent of people used cannabis in the past year, while cocaine, opioids and amphetamines were consumed far less frequently, with higher recorded use in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Some of the highest levels of alcohol consumption were in Central, Eastern and Western Europe, where the per-capita consumption was 11 to 12 liters (about 3 gallons) of pure alcohol a year, compared with about 6 liters (1.5 gallons) a year per capita worldwide.

The largest health burden from substance use was attributed to tobacco smoking and the smallest was attributable to illicit drugs. Roughly a quarter of the Eastern European population smokes, and it's a little more modest in Central Europe and Western Europe (23.7 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, countries in North Africa and the Middle East reported the lowest rates of alcohol consumption, as well as the lowest percentage of heavy drinking.

"Better standardized and rigorous methods for data collection, collation and reporting are needed to assess more accurately the geographical and temporal trends in substance use and its disease burden".