WHO. World Health Organization
Per capita alcohol consumption in the WHO European Region, including the European Union (EU), is the highest in the world, which results in proportionally higher levels of burden of disease attributable to alcohol use compared to other regions. While there have been welcome improvements in terms of overall mortality and alcohol-attributable mortality in EU+ countries (EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland), there was no statistically significant decline in total alcohol per capita consumption between 2010 and 2016 and the observed decreases in heavy episodic drinking seem to have come to a halt. Assessment of alcohol policies in the 10 areas defined in the European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012−2020 revealed huge variability across the countries, including the implementation of the three WHO “best buys” policy measures to reduce noncommunicable diseases related to alcohol. Countries scored relatively low on reducing the negative consequences of drinking and alcohol intoxication and very low in pricing policies and scored generally high in the areas of leadership, awareness and commitment, drink–driving policies and countermeasures, and monitoring and surveillance. Further steps are needed to maintain reductions in alcohol-attributable harm, specifically in the implementation of evidence-based alcohol policies to decrease levels of per capita alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking.