Column | alcohol and health

Among the substances with which the people is usually poison, alcohol is the least restricted and, however, is the one that causes more damage. Many illegal dru

Column | alcohol and health

Among the substances with which the people is usually poison, alcohol is the least restricted and, however, is the one that causes more damage. Many illegal drugs are very dangerous to those who use them, but they are difficult and expensive to obtain, which limits their impact on the people. On the contrary, alcohol is ubiquitous, with what a very important part of the population suffers the effects of his abuse. In 2010, a group of experts on drugs in the United Kingdom examined the impact on health caused by 20 drugs that intoxicaban to the population and ended up finding that alcohol was more harmful to health by the indirect damage it does to non-users, as are the many victims that occur that drive drunk.

No western country has banned alcohol since the united States ended up with its Dry Law in 1933, is now 86 years old. The drink is very popular and easy to produce and, if it is prohibited, it causes the criminals to enrich more and fight among themselves to dominate their consumption.

In recent years they have started to legalize other drugs. On the contrary, to be able to restrict the abuse of alcohol, the Governments have tried to discourage people by putting higher taxes to drink, and have carried out campaigns to convince you of its negative effects, imposing limits on where, when, and how consumers can sell and to whom not.

In Spain, young people of both sexes who drink more heavily on the rest of the population through the so-called "botellón", which make a lot of weekends outdoors in the parks of the cities or the beaches, which produces damage to their studies and their health, and, above all, for their families. In the Uk, more than 100 producers of alcohols, as well as retailers, have signed a pact to reduce its harmful effects, and have promised that they are going to help you drink, within certain limits, fundamentally putting ads and promoting moderation. However, if these campaigns were effective and efficient, they might become spoil.

The Institute of Studies of Alcohol (IAS) and the University of Sheffield have shown that two-fifths of the alcohol consumed in the United Kingdom exceeds the maximum excess recommended on a weekly basis, that represents a glass of wine a day. In addition, the same executives from the drinks industry have said that "drink less and drink better". The producers of the alcohols estimate that the drinkers need to pay between 22% and 98% more for each drink to be able to cope with the fall of the benefit that such a decline it would cause them.

In 2018, in the US, the National Institute of Health (NIH) halted a study of $ 100 million, which was partially funded by the producers of alcohols, to moderate the excess of drink. It was because their design was biased to favor its own products alcoholics. This same year the World Health Organization (WHO) and the public authority british have forbidden their employees to work with the producers of alcohol. However, these are already prepared to reject their regulators and their supervisors.

In 1999, the companies producing the alcohol invested more than half of what the tobacco producers had been reversed and, today, in 2019, spend already a 31% more, which is a trend that is very dangerous.Also, as the alcohol is ubiquitous, it tends to cause more damage that cause the illegal drugs, which are much more expensive and difficult to obtain. The figures that I used as sources are: Drug harms in the UK: multicriteria decision analysis (David Nutt and others). The Lancet: How dependent is the alcohol industry on heavy drinking in England? and A. Bachatarya et al. Addiction. Centre for Responsible Politics. National Health System (NHS).

Also, according to the report Britain, Selected Drugs: 2010, which includes alcohol, heroin, cannabis, ecstasy and tobacco, distinguish between the harm to those who drink, as well as for those who do not drink, by measuring its effects on so many percent. Their results are: on a maximum of 100, the alcohol affects your dependency by 10%, severely impairs your physical and mental health, in 15%, and at his death, in 18%. And ends up finishing with the loss of the belongings of the 27% of consumers, the loss of relationships 29%, productivity 40%; in crime and damage to the 54% and in the breakdown in the family, in 68% of cases. It shows, also, that heroin affects 33% of your consumers in all the previous lines, reaching up to 53% of the total its users.

The tobacco has a minor effect, since it reaches to 18% of those who smoke, but it can lead to the loss of their belongings, their relationships, and even until his death by lung diseases serious that produces. The cannabis reaches only to the dependency and the physical and mental health, but in a lesser proportion, to the death, and the ecstasy only affects the dependence and the mental and physical health.

The 25% of brits usually drink quantities that arrive to cause serious problems for your health, now represent 68% of the revenue of alcohol producers and, in addition, drink, on the whole, 78% of all alcohol consumed in the United Kingdom.

on the other hand, the price increases necessary to compensate for the losses of the producers reach the 75% in the case of beer, 79% in the wine and 85% in the alcohols. In the US, in 2018, the producers have spent on lobbyists to $ 30 million and the tobacco industry, other 23 million.

A study of Baranger and others (2018), written by 13 experts from six universities of the united STATES, using family data and longitudinal of three independent samples, estimated that the consumption of alcohol reaches 5% of all global disease, from teenagers to ages between 11 and 37 years. In addition, it has been identified that alcohol reduces the volumes of the gray matter of the frontal lobe of the brain that has a genetic impact. The volume of the frontal lobe, which is the center of emotions, plans, and behaviors, are very linked to the consumption of alcohol and the effect becomes even more noticeable as people age, according to a study conducted by Chiba University (Japan) published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (2001), measuring the frontal lobe of 1,400 people from 30 to 60 years, through the use of mris. The results obtained revealed that the frontal lobe had shrunk in less than 8% of people between the ages of 30 and 40 years of age, compared with 16% of those aged 40 years and 38% of those 50 years. That is to say, older people are three times more likely to have shrinkage in the brain.

Another study Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), the department of u.s. health, shows that in the U.S., a standard drink contains 14 grams or 1.2 tablespoons of pure alcohol, which is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer or 28.35 grams of alcohol. Finally, estimates should not drink alcohol the following persons: minors under the age of 21 years, pregnant women, drivers and those who are participating in activities requiring skill, coordination or attention. In addition, you must avoid those medicines that can interact with alcohol.

Guillermo de la Dehesa is chairman emeritus of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London.

Updated Date: 31 December 2019, 18:00

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