OECD warns dangerous binge drinking by youth on the rise, even as overall alcohol use falls

Associated Press

Alcohol consumption in wealthy, developed countries has declined over the past two decades, but dangerous binge drinking increased among the young, according to a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The 34-nation OECD, which advises governments on policies for economic growth, says that average annual alcohol consumption in its member countries fell 2.5 percent over the past 20 years, to 9.1 liters of pure alcohol per capita.

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That overall trend hides a dangerous increase in hazardous drinking by young people, the OECD says, as measured by both the amount and the rate that alcohol is consumed.

Harmful consumption of alcohol now accounts for a higher proportion of deaths worldwide than HIV/AIDS, violence and tuberculosis combined, according to the report, "Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use."