Thirteen of the island’s 44 road fatalities so far this year were due to alcohol, police told a press conference held to mark sixth alcohol awareness week underway since Monday aiming to warn of the dangers of alcohol abuse.
Of the 44 fatal collisions in the first 11 months of 2018, 11 were due to alcohol consumption (25%) and these resulted in the loss of 13 lives.
Dr Chrysanthos Georgiou, president of the Cyprus National Addictions Authority said that alcohol was the most popular substance among 16 year old youths in Cyprus. And he voiced concern since the latest ESPAD survey carried out in 2015 showed that of the 35 participating European countries, Cyprus had the third highest percentage of young people using alcohol with 66%.
World Health Organisation figures for 2018 show that Europe has the highest levels of alcohol use in the world and highest shares of deaths associated with alcohol consumption at some 800 a day.
As regards Cyprus, he said alcohol consumption the previous month after 15-34 year olds was 63.6%, slightly down from 70% in 2012. Among 15-16 year olds, alcohol consumption in the past month was 68%, compared to 70% in 2011. The EU average is 48%. Moreover, 290 people had entered treatment programmes for alcohol abuse in 2017, he said,
Georgiou said that alcohol was too easily available young people who are underage and said that the Authority had proposed tougher measures be adopted by law. It also wants 1% of state revenue from tax on alcohol to be used to promote measures to reduce such access.