Aussies Knock Back Almost Double World Average Alcohol Amount

Australians are among the heaviest drinkers in the world, topping Americans, Canadians and the Japanese for pure alcohol consumption.

The data, presented in WHO's Global status report on alcohol and health 2018, showed Aussies are drinking 10.6 litres of pure alcohol each year -- almost double the global average of 6.4 litres.

We're still trailing France and Russia though, with the average person consuming more than 12 litres and 11.7 litres of pure alcohol per year respectively.

Worldwide, the statistics made for rather sobering reading.

The harmful use of alcohol is responsible for one in 20 deaths around the globe. That's more than three million each year, accounting for five percent of the global disease burden.

"Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Almost a third of deaths linked to alcohol are result of injuries from car crashes, self-harm and violence. 

Men are particularly at risk, and are far more likely to die from alcohol-related harm.

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While Australians are certainly pouring a higher than average share of drinks, Europe still has the highest prevalence of alcohol-related issues.

There were also "some positive global trends", WHO said, with the number of alcohol-related deaths decreasing since 2010 and less prevalence of heavy episodic drinking.

Image: Getty

In Australia however, levels of binge drinking remains quite high, particularly among 15-19 year olds. The report found this style of drinking is seen in more than half of all drinkers between these ages.

A Call To Regulate The Alcohol Industry

WHO urged countries to do more to address harmful drinking.

"The overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is unacceptably high," the report said.

The UN agency warned the current projections for an increase in total per capita consumption worldwide in the next ten years will put the global target of a 10 percent reduction in the harmful use of alcohol by 2025 out of reach.

In Australia, drug and alcohol expert Michael Thorn said the findings were "a damning indictment on governments".

“Governments are asleep at the wheel when it comes to preventing harm from alcohol," Thorn, CEO of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education said.

"In the absence of effective alcohol policy, alcohol harm, currently accounting for three million deaths per year, will continue to worsen."

Thorn said the most effective alcohol policy measures are well-known, despite not being widely implemented in Australia. These include addressing the price of alcohol, restricting its physical availability and restricting its marketing.

Featured image: Getty

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