Alcohol is a major contributor to the global burden of disease (Lim et al., 2012), and is a major source of health and social harm in many middle- and low-income countries, as well as in high-income countries. In recognition of this, a Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Effects of Alcohol was adopted in 2010 by the World Health Organization’s governing body, the World Health Assembly (WHA) (WHO, 2010). Since then, there has also been increasing international recognition of alcohol’s role in social problems, including crime, family problems, and lost work productivity: "beyond health consequences," WHO notes, "the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large" (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/ factsheets/fs349/en/). New emphasis has been put, too, on alcohol’s major contribution as a risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, heart disease, and liver cirrhosis; WHO’s global goals for NCD control include the (somewhat fuzzily defined) goal of a 10% reduction in the "harmful use of alcohol . . . as appropriate" by 2020 (WHO, 2013). Together, these steps reflect a greater international recognition of alcohol as a major issue to be addressed in improving global health.
2014. Vol. 3, no 3, 184-186 p.