As Alcohol Consumption Declines Dangerous Binge Drinking Rises

While alcohol consumption in wealthy, developed countries has declined globally over the past two decades its given rise to dangerous binge drinking among the young, according to a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The 34-nation OECD advises governments on policies for economic growth.

The organization found that average annual alcohol consumption in its member countries fell 2.5 percent over the past 20 years, to 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per person.

But the overall trend hides a dangerous increase in hazardous drinking by young people as measured by both the amount and the rate that alcohol is consumed.

Teens tend to be drinking less often, but in higher volume and pace than their historical peers, in a phenomena known as ‘bing drinking’. So while alcohol use is down on the whole, its up in a particular demographic.

Consuming alcohol now accounts for a higher proportion of deaths worldwide than HIV/AIDS, violence and tuberculosis combined, according to the report, entitled “Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use.”

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