The World Health Report revealed that alcohol was responsible for 3.2 percent of all premature death and four percent of global burden disease.
No region of the globe remains unaffected by this growing epidemic of harm caused by alcohol. In developed countries it is the third most serious health risk factor, contributing 9.2 percent of the disease burden. In some parts of the Western Pacific Region it is responsible for 6.2 percent and in other part 8.3 percent of the burden.
Similarly, in the South East Asia Region, it ranges from 1.6 to 6.2 percent.
With the addition of social harm, through alcohol related crime and disorder, domestic violence, neglect of family, child abuse, accidents, loss of productivity and poverty, a considerable economic burden is borne by society. The economic cost of alcohol to a nation has been shown by a number of students to range from 1 to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product.
More important is the pain and suffering of innocent third parties as well as that of users. When these intangibles are assessed then the social cost at least doubles the tangible economic cost.
Responding to the situation, the Asia Pacific Alcohol Policy Alliance (APAPA) was launched during the Bangkok Policy Conference held on 11th-12th August. APAPA is a network of organizations with the mission of reducing health and social alcohol-related problems by promoting effective evidence-based alcohol policies independent of commercial interests.