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Context to the dialogues

November 2019 – September 2023


Across the globe, over 3 million people die from alcohol- related deaths each year, accounting for 5.3% of all global deaths. In people aged 20–39 years, approximately 13.5% of total deaths are attributable to alcohol. Harmful use of alcohol consumption also contributes to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Overall, 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

Disadvantaged and especially vulnerable populations have higher rates of alcohol-related death and hospitalization. There are also gender differences; the percentage of alcohol-attributable deaths among men amounts to 7.7 % of all global deaths compared to 2.6 % of all deaths among women. Overall, harmful use of alcohol is accountable for 7.1% and 2.2% of the global burden of disease for males and females respectively. [1]

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), with associated physical and neurological impairments, is a result of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The global prevalence of FASD among children and youth in the general population was estimated to be 7.7 per 1000 population, and is highest in the European Region at 19.8 per 1000 population.[2] In addition, the harmful use of alcohol leads to increased levels of violence, gender-based violence, accidents and road accidents. It is a global problem that requires a global solution, with targeted regional, country and community level interventions and action. In the majority of countries where comparable data is available, trends in underage drinking, drink driving, and heavy-episodic (or binge) drinking show a decline or have remained stable since 2010. However, some countries are not seeing progress at all. The picture is complex because historical and current data gaps remain in many low- and middle-income countries.

[1] WHO Alcohol Fact Sheet (2023)

[2] Global Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Among Children and Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (2019)


Summary of outputs of Wilton Park dialogues


Thematic areas

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