The consequences of excessive alcohol consumption are alarming. Of the approximately two million people who died from alcohol-related causes in 1989, 5 percent died in motor vehicle accidents, about half died from cirrhosis of the liver, another 10 percent died of alcohol dependence syndrome and 32 percent died of either cancer of the oesophagus or cancer of the liver (See Table 3).
The use of mortality data (alcohol-related deaths/total deaths) presented in Table 3, underestimates the problem of alcohol abuse, since most of the costs of alcohol abuse arise from nonfatal disease and injury.2 Estimating the impact of these diseases and injuries related to alcohol abuse is complex, and requires surveillance data that are currently inadequate in both developed and developing countries, despite the large social and economic effects of these conditions. It is clear, however, that alcohol abuse creates Increased demand for services in a variety of areas, including, inter alia, direct medical treatment for conditions stemming from alcohol abuse (e.g. physician fees, medication costs, and other health care charges), alcohol-related support services which include increases in program and health insurance administration, research, and medical facilities construction and reduced productivity both in terms of short-term absenteeism and on-the-joh reductions in productivity due to alcohol abuse. The following section, reviews survey evidence on the prevalence of alcohol-related problems in several developing countries.
TABLE 3: Worldwide Deaths Attributable to Alcohol
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