More than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016. (iStock)

Some sobering news from a worldwide study. Alcohol abuse claims the lives of 3 million people annually, asserted a recent report released by the World Health Organization.

Nearly as harrowing is the fact that alcoholism accounted for one out of every 20 deaths in 2016 caused by a disease.

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“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” stated Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.”

The number of projected drinkers within the next decade is expected to increase in the Americas, Western Pacific region and southeast Asia, the report indicated.

“All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol,” said Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, WHO’s coordinator of Substance Abuse Management. “Proven, cost-effective actions include increasing taxes on alcoholic drinks, bans or restrictions on alcohol advertising, and restricting the physical availability of alcohol.”

Globally, 45 percent of consumed alcohol is imbibed in the form of spirits, which is followed by beer (34 percent) and wine (12 percent).

The worldwide average of daily alcohol consumption was 33 grams of pure alcohol, roughly a 25-ounce bottle of beer, two shots of hard liquor or two glasses of wine.

But the report does offer some optimism. More than 3.1 billion people of Earth over the age of 15 had abstained from any potent potable over the past year.

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