Binge drinking among young Brazilians and the promotion of alcoholic beverages: a public health concern
The harmful use of alcohol is responsible for about 3.3 million deaths worldwide, each year. Time comparisons of estimates of the global burden of diseases attributed to different risk factors suggest that deaths and years lost (Disability-Adjusted Life Years – DALYs) due to alcohol use have increased in recent decades at global level. These changes led to an increase in the alcohol position in the ranking of the leading causes of death and disability in the world, moving from the eighth place in 1990 to fifth in 2010. The data available in many countries suggest that the harmful use of alcohol is the leading risk factor for death and disability of individuals between 15 and 49 years old.
The severity of the consequences of alcohol depends on the consumption frequency and amount. A pattern of risk consumption that has aroused international interest and only recently began to be investigated in Brazil is the so-called binge alcohol use, or ‘episodic heavy alcohol intake’. This pattern is usually characterized by the intake of at least four doses of alcohol in one occasion for women and five doses for men, leading to an ethanol concentration in the blood of 0.08% or higher. However, the binge alcohol use definition is controversial, permeated by conceptualizing conflicts influenced by the culture and pharmacokinetic aspects of alcohol.
Episodes of acute alcohol abuse not only affect general mortality, but also contribute to health problems, especially from accidents and aggressions, putting the intoxicated individual and the community at risk. Among the general population, binge alcohol use is associated with higher occurrences of sexual abuse, suicide attempts, unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancy, acute myocardial infarction, alcohol overdose, falls, gastritis and pancreatitis…