top of page

Alcohol is a risk factor for several different injuries and illnesses and is one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide

Alcohol Abuse in Europe and the US

In Europe, alcohol consumption is highest per capita, with the region experiencing the greatest number of alcohol-related harms. A 2019 study revealed that 1 in 12 adults in the EU consume alcohol daily, which equates to 8.4% of the population. On average, 19% of Europeans engage in at least one episode of heavy drinking per month, with Denmark having the highest percentage at 38%. In England and Scotland, 24% of adults regularly drink at levels that increase the risk of ill health, according to 2018 data.

In the US, a 2019 study found that 25.8% of adults over 18 participate in at least one episode of binge drinking per month, and 6.3% report heavy alcohol consumption.

In all studies, men tend to report higher levels of alcohol consumption than women, although this gender gap is narrower in countries with high overall alcohol consumption rates.  


Alcohol and Health

Alcohol is a significant risk factor for premature death worldwide, and it is the primary risk factor for individuals aged between 15 and 49. According to a 2016 study, alcohol was responsible for 14% of deaths in individuals aged 20 to 39. Globally, alcohol consumption contributes to 5.3% of the burden of disease and injury.


Excessive alcohol consumption can also contribute to the development of illnesses such as:


  • high blood pressure

  • heart disease

  • stroke

  • liver disease

  • stomach and intestinal diseases 

  • weakened immune system

  • cancer

  • learning and memory dysfunctions such as dementia


Additionally, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are common among individuals who consume alcohol excessively. Alcohol abuse can also lead to social problems such as unemployment, loss of productivity, and a fractured family.

Reducing your alcohol intake can help stop the development of these health problems.


Alcohol Abuse and Children

Growing up with an alcoholic family member can have a significant impact on a child's development, both in childhood and as adults. In the United States, it is estimated that one in five Americans have grown up with an alcoholic relative, while in the United Kingdom, three million people are living with alcoholic parents.

Children of alcoholics are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and difficulty forming social relationships. They are also four times more likely to develop addiction problems in adulthood, perpetuating the cycle of alcoholism.


Drinking alcohol while pregnant can have serious health effects on the child, including miscarriages, premature birth, low birth weight, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD can lead to various developmental problems such as learning and behavior issues, problems with muscles, bones and joints, hyperactivity, impulse control issues, and difficulty managing emotions and communication. Globally, it is estimated that around 8 in 1000 people suffer from FASD.


Alcohol and Violence

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol is a contributing factor in about 30% of all homicides globally.

  • In the United States, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that alcohol is a factor in approximately 40% of all violent crimes.

  • A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found that alcohol is a factor in 55% of all reported cases of intimate partner violence globally.

  • The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that alcohol use is involved in up to 50% of sexual assaults.


Alcohol and Traffic 

  • One third of all fatal car crashes in the US are related to drunk drivers.

  • According to a survey conducted in 2018, 12.6% of drivers in the US, ages 16-20 reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.

  • In 2019, there were 5,554 reported drink-driving accidents in Great Britain, which resulted in 240 deaths and 8,090 casualties (Department for Transport, 2020).

  • According to a survey by the Drinkaware charity, 20% of UK drivers admitted to having driven the morning after drinking heavily, which is equivalent to an estimated 5.7 million drivers (Drinkaware, 2020).



Even a small amount of alcohol can lead to harmful traffic situations. Driving while under the influence can give you - among other things - a lack of coordination, reduced concentration, decreased vision and inhabited judgement. Therefore, it is always best to avoid drinking and driving.

Take the first step towards sobriety

Meet others, share, and socialize on Cairy
bottom of page