Alcohol consumption causes 4% of deaths in Catalonia

«My life was a disaster and I realized that I was heading towards only three destinations: jail, a psychiatric hospital or the cemetery. If he did not remedy it, he could end up in any of the three ». Federico has not tasted a drop of alcohol for 25 years and his example can serve to illustrate a fact that yesterday, coinciding with the World Alcohol Free Dayoffered by the Department of Health of the Generalitat: 4.2% of deaths in Catalonia are attributable to alcohol consumption.

Federico, luckily, knew how to stop on time. «I reached an extreme situation, I was almost exhausted, I couldn't take it anymore. He only had two paths: either he continued like this, or he put a solution ». And he opted for the second. He did so after seeing a sign for Alcoholics Anonymous and daring to take the step of contacting them. «I went to a parish, where a group introduced me. They welcomed me with open arms and the first thing they told me was that they were there for the same reason. That we had to help each other”, explains Federico, who clarifies that “in Alcoholics Anonymous I learned that I have a disease recognized by the WHO and that I will be an alcoholic all my life”.

Alcohol, always related to social relations, It is the most consumed psychoactive substance in Cataloniawhere the year In 2019, almost 11 liters of pure alcohol were consumed per inhabitant over 15 years of age. (consumption per capita), according to the Department of Health.

In addition, large differences are observed based on sex: men consume 16 liters compared to 6 liters for women. These values ​​are higher than the average for the European region of the World Health Organization (WHO), where consumption is calculated at 9.5 liters per inhabitant over 15 years of age; and where men consume 15 liters and women 4.

According to data from 2019 and 2020 According to the EDADES household survey on alcohol and drugs, in Catalonia 8.9% of people between 15 and 64 years of age (14.6% in men and 3% in women) drink alcohol every day and only 7.5% do not. never consumed (5% in men and 5.5% in women).

Almost one in ten people (11.8% of men and 5.5% of women) stated that they had gotten drunk sometime in the last 30 days and 13.2% of the people surveyed (18% of men and 8.3 % in women) declares having had a high intake of alcoholic beverages (5 or more in men and 4 or more in women), in an interval of about two hours, known as bring drink.

Widespread among young people

With regard to youth, alcohol consumption is widespread among the young population. According to the 2021 ESTUDES survey on drug use among secondary school students in Catalonia, 21.5% of students between the ages of 14 and 18 (20% men and 23% women) have gotten drunk in the last month , especially during the weekends. And 25.2% (24.7% of men and 25.7% of women) have had at least one episode of bdrinking ring during the last month.

On the other hand, and as far as hospital emergencies are concerned, in 2021 in Catalonia there were 18,338 related to substance use. Of these, 54.1% were a consequence of alcohol consumption, the majority were men within the age range of between 41 and 60 years. Among minors, there were 688 emergencies due to alcohol consumption, of which six out of ten occurred in girls.

Alcohol is also the substance with the most requests for treatment in the Xarxa d'Atenció a les Drogodependències (XAD): in 2021 there were 5,877 initiations of treatment motivated by alcohol, 43.8% of the total. The mean age of the people who started treatment was 47 years, 73.7% of whom were men. The fact that men take an average of 27 years to request treatment for the first time stands out.

Regarding admissions to hospital alcohol detoxification units, 437 admissions were registered in 2021, a figure that represents 45.7% of the total for that year. With regard to mortality, it is estimated that from the 63,918 deaths that occurred in Catalonia in 2019, 2,706 were attributable to alcohol consumption, which means 4.23% of the total deaths.

More men than women

If the results are discriminated by sex, large differences between men and women are observed. In the case of the former, a total of 1,905 deaths were due to alcohol, that is, 5.92%. In the case of women, considerably lower values ​​are observed: 801 deaths due to alcohol consumption, 2.52% of the total.

Faced with this avalanche of such worrying figures, there is always a message of hope in the mouth of a person who has gone through this problem. «The message is that there is a way out and a solution. I always say the same thing to those who come to Alcoholics Anonymous: if I could, you can too”, explains Federico, proud of having left his relationship with alcohol behind.

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