New WHO report: Alcohol and drugs kill more than 3 million people every year

A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that alcohol and psychoactive drugs are responsible for more than 3 million deaths each year. Alcohol alone accounts for 2.6 million of these fatalities, while drugs contribute to 0.6 million deaths. The report highlights that 2.4 million of these deaths occur among men.

Additionally, the report estimates that around 400 million people globally struggle with substance use disorder.

“Substance use severely harms individual health, increasing the risk of chronic diseases, mental health conditions, and tragically resulting in millions of preventable deaths every year. It places a heavy burden on families and communities, increasing exposure to accidents, injuries, and violence,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

The European and African regions experience the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths, while the Americas and European regions have the highest prevalence of teenage drinking.

“The highest proportion (13%) of alcohol-attributable deaths in 2019 were among young people aged 20–39 years,” the study states.

Researchers advocate for increased awareness, enhanced training for healthcare professionals, more treatment options for substance use disorders, and robust prevention programs.