Alcohol and Substance Abuse
The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Unit is coordinating a series of monthly webinars on Alcohol and Health throughout 2019. The webinar series is aimed at disseminating up-to-date and accurate information about alcohol epidemiology, harms, policies and research in the Region of the Americas and globally, which in turn can be used for advocacy, policy development and implementation.
Register to the series to receive the invitations and the recordings and presentations of the webinars.
- – Register at: http://eepurl.com/gfTHYT
- September, 9 - Regional Survey on Alcohol Use and COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean
- August, 12 - Regional Study on Alcohol, Drugs and Road Injuries in Emergency Rooms: first findings
- July 2020, 15 - Alcohol Policy Scales in the US and Canada: Rationale, Development, Uses and Challenges
- June, 17. Alcohol labeling: what do we know and what can we do? (in English)
- May, 13. A human rights perspective on the prevention of alcohol consumption. (in Spanish)
- April, 15 - Alcohol Marketing and Public Health: What Do We Know and What Can We Do?
- March 18- Dr. Beatriz Champagne - Global Alcohol Policy Conference: what happened and what lessons can be used in the Region
- February 13- Dr. Pamela Trangestein - How Well Are We Doing on Alcohol Policy Implementation?
- March 13- Dag Rekve - Global Status Report on Alcohol
- April 10- Lana Popova and Omar Abdul - Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: epidemiology, clinical features and diagnostic criteria
- May 15- Ignacio Ibarra- Regional work on promoting alcohol related laws among legislatorsRegional work on promoting alcohol related laws among legislators
- June 12 - Jürgen Rehm. Can the Americas reduce harmful use of alcohol by 2030? (English and Spanish)
- July 10 - Thomas Babor - Barriers to alcohol policy and what to do about it (English)
- August 14 - Mr Dag Rekve. WHO SAFER Package
- September 11- Paula Johns. Alcohol policy advocacy and the challenges for alcohol controlAlcohol policy advocacy and the challenges for alcohol control (English)
- October 9- Guillermo Paraje - Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages: What We Know and What We Don't Know in Latin AmericaTaxes on Alcoholic Beverages: What We Know and What We Don't Know in Latin America (English and Spanish)
- November 13- Dr María Elena Medina Mora and Vilma Gawryszewski - Alcohol Use Disorders and ICD 11Alcohol Use Disorders and ICD 11 (English and Spanish)
- December 11- Dr Kevin Shield - Alcohol indicators: purpose, meaning, measurement and uses in public healthAlcohol indicators: purpose, meaning, measurement and uses in public health (English and Spanish)
Alcohol is causally linked to over 200 health conditions, including liver diseases, road injuries, violence, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, suicides, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Its impact is detrimental in every country in the Region; the less developed a country is, the higher the relative burden of alcohol. But where consumption is highest, the burden of disease and injury is heaviest. The Region of the Americas ranks as the second highest in consumption and in burden of alcohol, after the European Region. Alcohol consumption is expected to increase if the most effective policies are not implemented.
- Alcohol was responsible for 5.5% of all deaths in the Americas, and 6.7% of all disability-adjusted life years.
- 54% of the total population are current drinkers, 29% are life abstainers, and 17% are former drinkers.
- Fewer people are drinking now, but those who do are drinking more.
- Annual per capita consumption among people over 15 years of age was 8.0 liters.
- Annual per capita consumption among DRINKERS was 15.1 liters
- On average, each drinker has 2.3 drinks* every day of the year. Among male drinkers, the average is 4.3 drinks daily. Among women, it is 1.4 drinks per day every day of the year.
- 40.5% of all current drinkers are HEAVY EPISODIC DRINKERS (they drink at least 5 drinks per occasion at least monthly).
- 21.3% of the total population over 15 years old are heavy episodic drinkers.
- 18.3% of adolescents aged 15-19 years are heavy episodic drinkers.
- 8.2% of the general population over 15 years old has an ALCOHOL USE DISORDER:
- 5.1% of women >>> THE HIGHEST PREVALENCE IN THE WORLD (COMPARED TO ALL OTHER WHO REGIONS)
- 11.5% of men>>> THE SECOND HIGHEST PREVALENCE IN THE WORLD (HIGHEST IS IN THE EUROPEAN REGION)
*One drink is equivalent to a can of beer (355 ml), a glass of wine (150 ml) or a shot of distilled spirits (40 ml).
THE MOST COST-EFFECTIVE POLICIES ARE NOT BEING WIDELY IMPLEMENTED IN THE AMERICAS
- 5/35 countries have physical restrictions on the availability of alcohol (days, places, density of outlets, sales to minors enforced).
- 12/35 countries have blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits at or below 0.05% for the general population.
- 2/35 countries reported substantial or high coverage of treatment for alcohol dependence; most do not know treatment coverage.
- 1/35 countries have comprehensive marketing restrictions.
- 8/35 countries have excise taxes adjusted for inflation.
- Women who become pregnant should not drink alcohol given that it is harmful to the fetus.
- Women and men alike should decrease their consumption of alcohol to reduce the risk of harm.
Download the infographic:
Alcohol marketing is widespread in the Americas, with modern marketing techniques that go beyond traditional print and electronic media advertisements to include branded merchandise, sponsorships of sporting teams and events, discount pricing, social media, and sales or supply at educational or health establishments.
Studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to start drinking earlier, and to drink more if they are already drinking. The harmful use of alcohol is one of the four most common preventable risk factors for major noncommunicable diseases and an important risk factor for violence and injury. It also has an impact on other health conditions including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as on economic and social development.
Two key PAHO publications and a special supplement of the journal Addiction summarize the evidence, provide examples and propose ways countries can strictly regulate alcohol marketing, when a total ban is not achievable.
Background on alcohol marketing regulation and monitoring for the protection of public healthOverview:
This document provides evidence for arguments supporting alcohol marketing regulation, and suggests key elements that can be considered by countries in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating effective regulation. It also provides legislative language that can assist governments in developing or modifying existing laws and implementing monitoring mechanisms. It complements a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) report from an exploratory meeting on alcohol regulation held in January 2015 and is firmly based in the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful use of Alcohol of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the subsequent PAHO Regional Plan of Action. The first draft was produced by PAHO technical staff and presented at a meeting held in July 2016, with experts and representatives from selected Member States. The final document was extensively revised by PAHO staff after the meeting, following suggestions made by participants.
PAHO Meeting on Alcohol Marketing Regulation. Final Report.
Monitoring and regulating marketing of alcoholic beverages is one of the biggest challenge areas in alcohol public policy. Alcohol marketing regulation has been adopted by WHO as one of the three "best buys" for cost-effective policies to prevent and control the harmful use of alcohol as a risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Regulations must be coherent, strategic, and adaptable,and all related regulatory bodies and processes must be independent of the alcohol industry, given the commercial interests that often conflict with those of public health.
The report synthesizes the discussions and conclussions agreed on an exploratory international meeting convened by the Pan American Health Organization on 12-13 January 2015, with the participation of more than 30 experts on tobacco control, food and nonalcoholic beverages, trade agreements and health policy, as well as staff from NGOs, country offices and WHO headquartes.
The Regulation of Alcohol Marketing: From Research to Public Health Policy
Supplement of Addiction, published on January 2017.
Using a broad public health perspective to describe the issues surrounding the marketing of alcoholic beverages, the papers in this Supplement provide a wealth of information to support renewed action by governments to control alcohol marketing with statutory measures, independent of the alcohol industry's self-regulatory programs, implemented and monitored by governments and/or civil society organizations with a primary interest in public health and the prevention of alcohol problems. To the extent that remedial action is needed urgently, the way forward is described clearly in the concluding paper to this Supplement.
Access to the Supplement in the following link..
Number of pages: 46
Publication date: 2016
Languages: English, Spanish
Download the publication:
An exploratory meeting on regulation of marketing of alcohol products was held at the Pan American Health Organization in WDC, 12-13 January 2015. The objectives of the meeting were to summarize the research on the effects of alcohol marketing on young people; review existing statutory and self-regulatory codes on marketing and examine their effectiveness; and describe the experience of countries where alcohol marketing legislation has been recently enacted or proposed. As a result, participants agreed upon key messages that can assist countries in the development of legislative measures and support the work on alcohol marketing control in the Region and worldwide.