Europe urged to address excessive drinking

Dec. 22, 2010 at 10:32 PM

ATHENS, Greece, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Researchers in Europe say the continent is not dealing with the lethal effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

Researchers in Athens for a meeting hosted by the European Association warned Europe has the highest rate of alcohol consumption in the world and 1-in-15 adults suffers serious health conditions as a result.

Severe diseases such as liver cirrhosis have been growing at an alarming rate and have hit at younger and younger ages, the researchers say.

"To evaluate the risks effectively, there is a need for the standardization of alcohol measures across the European Union," Dr. Nick Sheron of the University of Southampton, England, said in a statement. "There remains a widespread misunderstanding amongst consumers of exactly what comprises a unit of alcohol."

Those at the meeting would like to see steps taken to stop the health and societal burden excessive alcohol consumption brings.

"We know that policies which focus on community programs, information and education have not proved to be very effective," Helena Cortez-Pinto of Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Portugal, said.

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