Environmental Science

According to a recent World Health Organization report, excessive drinking causes more than four percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence. Due to increasing incomes in heavily populated countries in Africa and Asia, including India and South Africa, binge drinking has become a problem in many developed countries as more money is being spent on alcoholic beverages.

Moreover, policies which control alcohol are weak and remain a low priority for most governments despite drinking’s heavy toll on society causing road accidents, violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism.

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WHO’s “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health” states that approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes. It further reports that the harmful use of alcohol is especially fatal for younger age groups and is the world’s leading risk factor for death among males aged 15-59. Worldwide statistics accounts for about 11 percent of drinkers who have weekly heavy episodic drinking occasions, with men outnumbering women by four to one. Men consistently engage in hazardous drinking at much higher levels than women in all regions investigated.

In the WHO’s first report on alcohol since 2004, alcohol has been a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries. Increasing consumptions has been linked to cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, road traffic accidents, violence, and several types of cancer, including cancers of the colorectum, breast, larynx and liver.

Despite repeated health warnings from doctors and public health professionals, the global health burden of alcohol consumption continues to rise and it shows there are no signs of it slowing. The economic and health implications posed by alcohol are often overlooked in favor of its social benefits, and it is precisely this fact that makes alcohol such a dangerous commodity.

Question: Discuss the social complexity (ies) of alcohol as a strong risk factor for disease transmission, such as HIV/AIDS, in the context of global health.

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