Press Release
Alcohol Use Projected To Keep Rising, Countries Fall Short Of Promise To Protect People

For immediate release: May 8, 2019
Media contact: Maik Dünnbier
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As Alcohol Use Is Projected To Keep Rising, Countries Fall Short Of Their Promise To Protect Their People

A new study projects rising alcohol consumption over the next decade. The latest findings indicate that the goals for reducing alcohol harm will remain out of reach. IOGT International emphasizes the severity of this trend and calls for urgent action. 

The new study published in The Lancet medical journal shows with the most up-to-date data and compelling graphs that adult per capita alcohol consumption has steadily increased over the last two decades and will keep rising in the coming decade. This trend runs counter to political promises made by countries to reduce alcohol use by 10% until 2025.

The latest scientific analysis makes clear that our governments are largely falling short of their duty and promise to protect people, communities and societies from alcohol harm,” says Kristina Sperkova, International President of IOGT International.

It is clear that the current policies, guidelines and strategies are not enough. Therefore we reiterate our call for a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control.”

The Global alcohol status report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in September 2018 shows how alcohol is adversely affecting multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the commitment to build more just and equitable societies. The latest study highlights that increases in alcohol use at the global level are attributable to a marked growth in alcohol use in lower-middle-income countries.

Only the alcohol industry benefits from the current situation,” warns Kristina Sperkova.

The failure to substantially reduce alcohol use and related harms threatens progress not only in health, but in social justice, economic productivity and in sustainable development. Without urgent action, the alcohol burden is only going to rise.”

Scientific studies are showing an ever clearer picture of the adverse effects of alcohol on health as well as development. They also show that high-impact, cost-effective alcohol policy solutions are available to change the trend. Last September, during the UN General Assembly, the WHO launched the so-called SAFER package and initiative, consisting of five best and good buy policy solutions to prevent and reduce alcohol harm comprehensively.

Reaching health for all and building sustainable health systems; promoting socio-economic progress and building resilient communities that withstand health and other emergencies – all these important goals are threatened by rising alcohol use, especially in developing countries,” says Kristina Sperkova.

In the face of latest findings, we call on our governments for urgent and bold action.

It’s time to curb the alcohol industry. It’s time to implement the alcohol policy best buy solutions. It’s time to deliver on the promise to protect people from harm and achieve health and development for all.”

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Notes to the editors

Study citation

Jakob Manthey, Kevin D Shield, Margaret Rylett, Omer S M Hasan, Charlotte Probst, Jürgen Rehm, Global alcohol exposure between 1990 and 2017 and forecasts until 2030: a modelling study, The Lancet, 2019, , ISSN 0140-6736, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32744-2.

Added value of the study

This study presents the most up-to-date data, based on a revised and systematic modelling approach to determine alcohol exposure globally. All data up to 2016 have been validated, by country, using WHO procedures, and show a marked increase in alcohol use from 1990 to 2017. For 2010–17, the most notable increases in alcohol per-capita consumption were recorded in countries in the WHO southeast Asian and western Pacific regions (e.g., a 38% increase in India, from 4.3 to 5.9 L; and a 90% increase in Vietnam, from 4.7 to 8.9 L), while there were decreases in alcohol consumption in countries in the WHO European region (e.g., an 82% decrease in Azerbaijan, from 2.9 to 0.5 L; a 22% decrease in Russia, from 15·8 to 12.3 L; and a 7.4% decrease in the UK, from 12.3 to 11.4 L) and in some countries in South America (e.g., a 24% decrease in Peru, from 8 to 6.1 L).

Overall, increases in alcohol exposure at the global level are attributable to a marked growth in alcohol use in lower-middle-income countries. Global alcohol use is expected to further increase, driven by increases in use in WHO southeast Asian and western Pacific countries.

Who is IOGT International?

IOGT International is the premier global network for evidence-based policy solutions and community-based interventions to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. Founded in 1851, IOGT International has 134 Member Organizations in 56 countries and works with the a comprehensive approach to promoting development through addressing alcohol harm, by working with prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as well as policy advocacy.