ONE IN five adults experience harm because of someone else’s drinking.
That’s according to new research from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, which the authors hope will shine a light on alcohol’s status as a “significant public health issue.”
According to the study, which has been compiled using US national survey data, approximately 23% of me and 21% of women experienced harm over the past 12 months as result of someone else’s drinking.
This varied from physical aggression, threats and harassment to issues around finance and other familial problems.
More alarmingly still, the study found there is "considerable risk for women from heavy, often male, drinkers in the household and, for men, from drinkers outside their family.”
Other factors like age and drinking habits were also important considerations in the study.
The research found people under the age of 25 were at higher risk of experiencing harm.
Furthermore, the study found close to half of all men and women who fall under the category of heavy drinkers had been harmed by someone else’s drinking.
Heavy drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks at a time for men or four or more drinks for women at least once a month.
Even those drinking but not drinking heavily were found to be at two to three times the risk of harassment, threats, and driving-related harm compared with those who abstain.
Researchers led by Madhabika B. Nayak, Ph.D., of the Alcohol Research Group in, analysed data from two telephone surveys conducted in 2015—the National Alcohol's Harm to Others Survey and the National Alcohol Survey – as part of the study.
They also looked at data from 8,750 respondents age 18 and older and provides support for alcohol control policies, such as taxation and pricing to reduce alcohol's harm to persons other than the drinker.
Researchers are now calling for an increase tax on alcoholic beverages, noting a link between increased alcohol taxes and decreases in excessive drinking and a noticeable reduction in the levels of harm directed to others.
Nayak said: "Control policies, such as alcohol pricing, taxation, reduced availability, and restricting advertising, may be the most effective ways to reduce not only alcohol consumption but also alcohol's harm to persons other than the drinker.”