Benjamin Taylor, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada
Global burden of disease from alcohol, illicit drugs and tobacco
Article first published online: 29 MAY 2009
2006 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
Drug and Alcohol Review
Volume 25, Issue 6, pages 503–513, November 2006
How to Cite
REHM, J., TAYLOR, B. and ROOM, R. (2006), Global burden of disease from alcohol, illicit drugs and tobacco. Drug and Alcohol Review, 25: 503–513. doi: 10.1080/09595230600944453
Jürgen Rehm, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada and Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction, Zü rich, Switzerland
- Issue published online: 29 MAY 2009
- Article first published online: 29 MAY 2009
- 15 November 2005; 5 May 2006.
- global burden of disease;
- illicit drug;
The use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs entails considerable burden of disease: in 2000, about 4% of the global burden as measured in disability adjusted life years was attributable to each alcohol and tobacco, and 0.8% to illicit drugs. The burden of alcohol in the above statistic was calculated as net burden, i.e. incorporating the protective health effects. Tobacco use was found to be the most important of 25 risk factors for developed countries in the comparative risk assessment underlying the data. It had the highest mortality risk of all the substance use categories, especially for the elderly. Alcohol use was also important in developed countries, but constituted the most important of all risk factors in emerging economies. Alcohol use affected younger people than tobacco, both in terms of disability and mortality. The burden of disease attributable to the use of legal substances clearly outweighed the use of illegal drugs. A large part of the substance-attributable burden would be avoidable if known effective interventions were implemented.