Alcohol Saves More Lives than It Costs, Says Expert

Drinking alcoholic beverages saves more lives than are lost to it, says an international health expert. Dr. Eric Single of the University of Toronto .

Addressing a conference of the Alcohol Education and Research Council in London, Professor Single said his research in Australia, New Zealand and Canada found that more lives are saved from moderate drinking than are lost through excessive drinking.

The pattern of alcohol consumption is important in determining its health consequences., he stressed. For example, drinking two drinks per day (beer, wine or distilled spirits) is associated with improved health but drinking 14 in one night would not.

Dr. Single said that one of the most important discoveries in the last 20 years has been that we need to change the way people drink instead of trying to get everyone to cut down or quit. That is, the patterns of consumption are more important that the annual per capita consumption.

The one country in which research shows more people dying from consuming alcohol than have their lives extended by it is Finland, where heavy episodic drinking is common. Finland has a temperance culture, which frowns on alcohol use. In such societies, alcohol consumption tends to be heavy when it occurs.


  • Alcohol has saved more lives than it’s cost, says expert. Life Style Extra (UK News), November 30, 2005.

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