Czechia: Heavy Alcohol Use and Massive Harm
Czechia’s heavy alcohol use is leading to massive alcohol harm in the country. According to research data, 1.5 million Czechs are high-risk alcohol users.
According to a poll conducted by the research agency MEDIAN on behalf of the Ministry of Health:
- The average Czech consumes 14.4 liters of pure alcohol a year, which is twice as much as the global average.
- Czech men are consuming four times more alcohol than women.
- Every third person thinks that consuming small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy is okay.
- Every twentieth person in the Czech Republic consumes alcohol shortly before going to sleep.
We are particularly alarmed for pregnant women [consuming] alcohol,” said Jarmila Vedralová, Director of the Department of Drugs Policy, as per, Prague Morning.
Every third person thinks that [consuming] small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy is okay. It is not. This must be clear,” she added.
It has been established through a strong base of scientific research that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.
Czech Republic is one of the heaviest alcohol using countries in Europe. Alcohol harm is of epidemic levels in Europe:
- Alcohol killed 291,100 people in 2016, which represents 800 deaths per day and 5.5% of all deaths in the region.
- 76.4% of the deaths are due to diseases, such as cancer, liver cirrhosis, and cardiovascular disease.
- 18.3% deaths are caused by injuries, such as road traffic accidents, suicides, and murders.
Alcohol harm in the Czech Republic
As the World Health Organization reports, among alcohol users in Czechia, men consume 26.9 litres and women consume 9.3 litres. Binge alcohol use is also high with over half (55.9%) the alcohol users above 15 years of age engaging in this especially harmful behavior. 10.6% of Czech men face alcohol use disorders with 5% being dependent on the substance.
The Czech government approved an increase of alcohol taxation recently, which is set to come into effect in 2020. However the tax increase was only for hard liquor and did not include beer or wine. As the WHO reports most of the alcohol consumed in the country is beer (54%).
Health Minister Adam Vojtěch is preparing the bill as part of a broader effort to address health risk factors such as alcohol as reported by Movendi International in September 2019. The stronger policy action is a response to the high societal costs of alcohol.