Observations Border crossing

Europe on the rocks

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39227.654838.59 (Published 31 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1142
  1. Tessa Richards, assistant editor, BMJ
  1. trichards{at}bmj.com

    Doctors should do more to tackle alcohol abusecould a European initiative help galvanise them?

    Europe has an alcohol problem. It's not alone, of course, but in global comparisons Europe tops the regional heavy drinking league. A recent report from the UK's Institute of Alcohol Studies shows that adults in Europe consume 11 litres of pure alcohol per head per year. This equates to 1500 “small” beers. If “abstainers” are excluded, the figure rises to 15 litres.

    The report was prepared for the public health arm of the European Commission to inform its new alcohol strategy, which was adopted last October. It's not hard to see why DG Sanco (the Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs) has turned its sights on alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is the third biggest cause of premature illness and death in the European Union, behind tobacco and high blood pressure. One in four deaths in young men and one in 10 in young women aged between 15-29 are due to alcohol. Most of these deaths, the report states, are as a result of drink driving and violence. Although overall …

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