Hungary: 30,000 Annual Alcohol Deaths
The number of people suffering from alcohol addiction in Hungary is around 800,000, and some 30,000 die annually of alcohol-related illnesses – in a country of 9.8 million inhabitants.
The figures come from toxicologist Gábor Zacher who also said, on average Hungarians consume the equivalent of 14 liters of pure alcohol in alcoholic beverages every year.
Alcohol is a bigger problem than other drugs. Comparative to the 800,000 suffering alcohol addiction and 30,000 annual deaths, the number of people addicted to illicit drugs in Hungary is estimated at 20,000, with 40 annual deaths due to related conditions.
Zacher calls for more public awareness for alcohol harm and recommends developing an alcohol strategy including a survey and plans for the future.
Alcohol harm in Hungary: Death, disease, and lack of policy response
Officially, Hungary’s total per capita alcohol consumption is 11.4 liters as reported by the WHO, which is above the average for the WHO European region.
Binge alcohol use is staggeringly high with 63.1% youth between 15 to 19 years who use alcohol engaging in this harmful behaviour. Over half of all the alcohol users above 15 years binge on alcohol as well.
Alcohol harm is obvious and comparative to the region very high. 21.2% Hungarians suffer from alcohol use disorders with 9.4% suffering from dependence issues.
Hungary urgently needs a comprehensive alcohol policy to curb the pervasive alcohol harm in the country. But as the WHO Global Alcohol Status Report, 2018, shows: the country does not have a written national policy, doesn’t put taxes on wine, institutes very weak availability regulations, and also has very flawed regulations of alcohol marketing.
An effective, comprehensive alcohol policy for the country should focus on the WHO best buy policy measures to cut availability, drive down affordability and bans of advertising, promotions and sponsorship of alcohol to effectively reduce alcohol consumption and prevent and reduce related harm in Hungary.