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Alcohol: No Ordinary CommodityResearch and Public Policy$
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Thomas F. Babor, Raul Caetano, Sally Casswell, Griffith Edwards, Norman Giesbrecht, Kathryn Graham, Joel W. Grube, Linda Hill, Harold Holder, Ross Homel, Michael Livingston, Esa Österberg, Jürgen Rehm, Robin Room, and Ingeborg Rossow

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199551149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551149.001.0001

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The global burden of alcohol consumption

The global burden of alcohol consumption

(p.43) Chapter 4 The global burden of alcohol consumption
Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity

Thomas Babor

Harold Holder

Raul Caetano

Ross Homel

Sally Casswell

Michael Livingston

Griffith Edwards

Esa Österberg

Norman Giesbrecht

Jürgen Rehm

Kathryn Graham

Robin Room

Joel Grube

Ingeborg Rossow

Linda Hill

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the enormous range of alcohol-related consequences within two broad categories: alcohol's contribution to the burden of illness carried by individuals and societies; and alcohol's harmful effect on the social fabric of families, communities, and nations. It also discusses the potential health benefits of moderate alcohol use. The chapter begins with a discussion of how epidemiologists establish causal relations between drinking and its consequences. It then reviews the evidence on health consequences in three different frames: 1) the role of alcohol in the global burden of disease and disability; 2) alcohol and all-cause mortality; and 3) the relation of alcohol to specific causes of death and disease. The relation of drinking to different types of social problems is then considered. A case study of the Russian experience during the anti-alcohol campaign of 1985-7 is used to illustrate the potential changes in health and social problems that follow from reductions in alcohol consumption. The available evidence on the relative magnitude of health and social problems from drinking is also considered.

Keywords:   alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse, drinking problem, health risks, social problems

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