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Journal Addiction calls for action on alcohol and NCD

An editorial by Robin Room, Jürgen Rehm and Charles Parry in the journal Addiction points to the September High Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly as an occasion to remedy the relative lack of action on alcohol in reducing the burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD).

The Addiction editorial by Robin Room, Jürgen Rehm and Charles Parry point out that this year the United Nations General Assembly sessions,will hold a special session on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), emphasizing the importance of addressing such diseases in order to reduce the global burden of illness.

Together with smoking, diet and physical inactivity, consumption of alcohol is among the four most important risk factors for non-communicable disease (NCD). Alcohol consumption, especially heavy consumption, impacts on cancer, liver cirrhosis and stroke. To reduce the burden of NCD, effective alcohol policies should be implemented locally, nationally and internationally, argues the authors.

They claim that the case for increased priority being given to act on alcohol to address NCDs and other public health concerns is now very strong. In this context, the relative lack of action on alcohol is increasingly indefensible. The September meeting at the United Nations is an occasion for remedying this, and for taking concrete steps to increase the resources at the international level devoted to alcohol policy issues.

The editorial is available free on the Addiction web site:
Robin Room, Jürgen Rehm and Charles Parry: Alcohol and non-communicable diseases (NCDs): time for a serious international public health effort, Addiction,Volume 106, Issue 9,

Also in Addiction Charles Parry, Jayadeep Patra and Jürgen Rehm has written an article: Alcohol consumption and non-communicable diseases: epidemiology and policy implications. The article is available for subscribers online prior to being published in the printed journal.

Parry, Patra and Rehm conclude by pointing out that the strong links between alcohol and Non-Communicable Diseases support calls by WHO to implement evidence-based strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol.

The authors have examined the relationships between different patterns of alcohol consumption and various non-communicable disease (NCD) outcomes, as well as estimates of the overall impact of alcohol consumption on global mortality and burden of disease. The authors have found a strong link between alcohol and NCDs, particularly cancer, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, pancreatitis and diabetes.

Alcohol is causally linked (to varying degrees) to eight different cancers, with the risk increasing with the volume consumed. Similarly alcohol use is detrimentally related to many cardiovascular outcomes, including hypertension, haemorrhagic stroke and atrial fibrillation. For other cardiovascular outcomes the relationship is more complex. Alcohol is furthermore linked to various forms of liver disease (particularly with fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis) and pancreatitis. For diabetes the relationship is also complex.
 
The abstract is available on the Addiction web site:
Charles Parry, Jayadeep Patra and Jürgen Rehm: Alcohol consumption and non-communicable diseases: epidemiology and policy implications, Addiction, Accepted Article (published online for future issues)

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