Annual review of addiction issues published in the DHS Yearbook for 2022 reports that the high prevalence of alcohol use is still a problem for Germany. The report includes statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development which place Germany at 13th place among 44 OECD countries for alcohol use prevalence among those over 15 years of age.

The annual DHS Yearbook for 2022 is out. This review shows that high prevalence of alcohol use still remains a big problem in Germany.

The latest DHS (Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfrgen, i.e. German Center for Addiction Issues) report summarizes the latest statistics on alcohol and tobacco consumption, gambling, eating disorders, alcohol-linked crimes, harm from addictive substances in road traffic, and the narcotic drug situation in Germany. The review presents findings focusing on the most important current results of the German Addiction Assistance Statistics (DSHS).

The 2022 report includes a section focusing on addiction issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 DHS Yearbook reports the following key information regarding alcohol use and addiction issues in Germany:

  • Germany ranks on 13th place among 44 countries for alcohol use according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
    • This means Germany’s alcohol use among those over the age of 15 years is above the average of the OECD countries per citizen.
  • There were 62,000 deaths (19,000 women and 43,000 men) caused by alcohol in Germany in 2016.
    • This corresponds to 4% of all deaths among women and 9.9% of all deaths among men.
  • The report highlights that there is no safe level for alcohol use and it is best to not use alcohol at all.

Research results show that there is no health-promoting effect of alcoholic beverages or low to moderate alcohol use quantities,” said Petra Krause, chairman of Guttempler in Germany, as per alkoholpolitik.

Therefore, when it comes to alcohol, the principle applies: preferably no alcohol at all!”

Petra Krause, chairman, Guttempler in Germany

Lethal interaction between alcohol and COVID-19

With regards to the pandemic’s effects on alcohol use and addiction the report provides the following information:

  • The pandemic led to a decline in on-trade alcohol use, such as in restaurants, bars, pubs, and outdoor events where alcohol would have been served.
  • The number of alcohol-related accidents fell particularly sharply in 2020, minus 6.8% compared to the previous year.
    • This is attributed to the changed mobility behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data shows that vulnerable Germans who were already exposed to psycho-social or health problems had more problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronacrisis led to an expansion of consumption for people whose alcohol consumption was already heavy before the pandemic. The report states that prevention, early intervention, advice, treatment, and addiction self-help are therefore all the more needed to support those at risk of addiction and those suffering from addiction.

People in crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic are known to increase use of addictive substances and addictive behavior. However, there is as of yet insufficient data to say if addiction to harmful substances has increased in Germany during the pandemic and whether there was an increase in addiction disorders.

Dependency diseases usually occur gradually over a longer period of time,” said Christine Kreider, DHS Officer for Prevention, as per, alkoholpolitik.

Therefore, they are only mapped in the statistics with a delay. However, it is already clear that more than ever, we have to take care of particularly vulnerable population groups, such as children from families from addiction problems.”

Christine Kreider, Officer for Prevention, DHS


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