Millions of Germans drink too much alcohol

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Over a million German dependent on alcohol

Millions of Germans are addicted to alcohol. Around 200 people die every day in Germany from the consequences of alcohol consumption and far more than new millions of people in Germany consume alcohol "in amounts that are hazardous to health", reported the director of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) on Friday in Cologne.

In the run-up to World Drug Day on Sunday, the Federal Center for Health Education today pointed out that around 1.3 million people in Germany are alcohol-dependent and around 9.5 million people in Germany consume alcohol "in quantities that are hazardous to health". The addiction potential and the health risks of alcohol would be "greatly trivialized by adolescents and adults", emphasized the director of the Federal Center for Health Education, Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Pott.

Alcohol damages almost all organs. Since alcohol is legal and relatively readily available, millions of Germans regularly use the bottle and apparently forget about the health risks. The experts are particularly concerned about the dramatic increase in alcohol consumption among young people. "Alcohol is the most widespread addictive substance in Germany" and causes around 200 deaths every day, warned the BZgA director in advance of the World Drug Day on Sunday. According to Prof. Elisabeth Pott, around 1.3 million people between the ages of 18 and 65 are currently dependent on alcohol in Germany. Many are not at all aware of the risks of their addiction and neglect the fact that "alcohol is a cell poison", which "damages almost all organs in the body and can, for example, cause heart muscle and cancer diseases", explained the expert.

Around 9.5 million Germans drink too much According to the BZgA director Prof. Elisabeth Pott, around 9.5 million people regularly drink alcoholic amounts that are hazardous to their health. As a guide, the BZgA specifies a maximum of 12 grams of pure alcohol (a small glass of beer) for women and a maximum of 24 grams of pure alcohol (two small glasses of beer) for men, which should be consumed no more than five days a week. Any alcohol consumption that goes beyond the specified guidelines could lead to permanent, significant health impairments, said the director of the Federal Center for Health Education. However, only very few alcohol consumers seem to be bothered by this. They ignore the health risks and often drink so much that hospitalization becomes necessary.

Significant health risks from trend towards binge drinking The number of alcohol-related hospital stays of people between the ages of 40 and 50 has increased massively in recent years, reports the BZgA. According to the BZgA, almost 25,000 people had to be treated in hospital for alcohol poisoning in 2009, and the development was even more dramatic among the adolescents. In 2009, 26,000 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20 were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. BZgA reports that thirteen percent of twelve- to 17-year-olds consume alcoholic beverages at least once a week and almost 17 percent of adolescents drink at least once a month. The trend towards binge drinking is a significant problem for both adolescents and adults, said the director of the BZgA. (fp)

Image: Christoph Aron /

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