Switzerland: 11,500 Hospitalized for Alcohol Poisoning Yearly
According to a study, around 11,500 people were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning in Swiss hospitals, in 2016.
The study by Sucht Schweiz (Addiction Switzerland) analyzed the figures for the years 2003 to 2016 from the “Swiss Medical Statistics of Hospitals” of the Federal Statistical Office. Accordingly, hospitalization due to alcohol intoxication increased sharply by 2008, followed by a turnaround.
In the long term – 2003 to 2016 – alcohol intoxication diagnoses increased by 23% in boys / men and 36% in girls / women.
Addiction diagnosis rising with age
The study also found the diagnosis of addiction increases with age. In 2016 more than 22,000 people were hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning. Out of these, people with a primary diagnosis of alcohol poisoning often have the secondary diagnosis of alcohol dependence (48%) or mental and behavioral disorders (39%), which are not directly related to the use of psychoactive substances.
As Sucht Schweiz says, inpatient hospital admissions are just the tip of the iceberg. Outpatient treatment in hospitals or intoxicated people brought home by the police as well as cases in outpatient treatment centers were not included in this study.
Alcohol harm in Switzerland
As WHO reports, the per capita total alcohol consumption in Switzerland is 11.5 litres which is above the WHO European region average – the heaviest alcohol consuming region in the world. More than half (55.6%) the Swiss youth between 15 to 19 years, who use alcohol binge on the substance.
- 9.5% of the population suffers from alcohol use disorders.
- 4.3% of the population suffers from alcohol dependence.
Both the above statistics are over the average for the region.
Better alcohol policy measures needed
Sucht Schweiz specifically calls for regulating and controlling sales of alcohol more effectively to manage the problem of alcohol poisoning. They state, cantons in French-speaking Switzerland have implemented temporal sales restrictions on the night hours with effective results.
According to the WHO Europe Fact Sheet for Switzerland, the country can benefit from further strengthening alcohol control through WHO alcohol policy best buy measures. Specifically through sales restrictions to curb availability as called for by Sucht Schweiz and also extending marketing bans to beer and wine, as almost half the alcohol used by Swiss people are wine and imposing excise taxes adjusted to inflation.