Burden of Disease Due to Alcohol and Alcohol Related Research

  • R. Rajendram
  • G. Lewison
  • V. R. Preedy
Reference work entry


Ethanol is one of the most commonly used recreational drugs worldwide. Whilst alcohol may have some beneficial effects, it is responsible for 4% of the global burden of disease.  Alcohol-related research (ARR) is a multidisciplinary specialty with the fundamental aim of improving the lives and health of those who consume alcohol. When the worldwide literature published during 1992–2003 was reviewed we found that there were relatively few ARR publications. Biomedical research and the global disease burden due to alcohol both increased whilst the number of papers from ARR remained static. Nearly 58% of all ARR papers were from centers in Canada and the United States. A further 30% were from Western Europe and 10% originated from Australia, New Zealand or Japan. The rest of the world contributed to only 3% of all ARR publications. There is thus a need for greater interest in ARR in the developing world. The estimated annual expenditure on ARR published in 2001 was $730 million (between $12 and $13 per DALY). This represents 0.7% of the expenditure on global biomedical research.

Despite the decline in ARR, from 1993 to 2003 there has been substantial progress in treatment and strategies to reduce the GBD due to alcohol. Policies to reduce overall levels of drinking and the rates of some alcohol-related problems have been identified through research and implemented effectively. Examples include increasing the price of alcohol through taxation and campaigns against driving under the influence of alcohol. However, research does not offer much guidance on successful ways of changing patterns of drinking, other than with unpalatable measures such as prohibition or alcohol rationing. Alcohol-related research is necessary, cost-effective and could significantly reduce the GBD due to alcohol. Increasing ARR is therefore likely to benefit society as a whole.


Science Citation Index Alcohol Misuse Social Science Citation Index Disability Weight Regional Contribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


alcohol-related research


global burden of disease


International Organization for Standardization


National Institutes of Health


Medical Research Council of Canada


United Kingdom


Regional Burden of Disease


Regional Burden of Disease Due to Alcohol


 relative commitment


research level


 science citation index


 social sciences citation index


worldwide alcohol-related research


World Health Organization


  1. Bien TH, Miller WR, Tonigan SJ. (1993). Addiction. 88: 315–336.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Booyse FM, Parks DA. (2001). Thromb Haemost. 86: 517–528.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Catalyst Health Consultants. (2001). Alcohol Misuse in Scotland: Trends and Costs – Final Report. Northwood, Middlesex, Catalyst Health Consultants available at URL health/alcoholproblems/docs/trco.pdf
  4. Deacon L, Hughes S, Tocque K, Bellis MA. (eds.) (2007). Indications of Public Health in the English Regions 8: Alcohol. Association of Public Health Observatories, York UK.Google Scholar
  5. Fenoglio P, Parel V, Kopp P. (2003). Eur Addict Res. 9: 18–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Global Forum for Health Research. (2004). Monitoring Financial Flows for Health Research. Global Forum for Health Research, Geneva.Google Scholar
  7. Gross CP, Gerard FA, Powe NR. (1999). N Engl J Med. 340: 1881–1887.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Her M, Rehm J. (1998). Addiction. 93: 1335–1340.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lamarre-Cliché M, Castilloux A-M, LeLorier J. (2001). Clin Invest Med. 24: 83–89.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Leon DA, Saburova L, Tomkins S, Andreev E, Kiryanov N, McKee M, Shkolnikov VM. (2007). Lancet. 369: 2001–2009.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lewison G, Rippon I, de Francisco A, Lipworth S. (2004). Res Eval 13: 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lewison G, Wilcox-Jay K. (2003). Getting biomedical research into practice: the citations from UK clinical guidelines. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics, Beijing, China, August; pp. 152–160.Google Scholar
  13. Mann K, Hermann D, Heinz A. (2000). Alcohol Alcohol. 35: 10–15.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. McKee M, Suzcs S, Sarvary A, Adany R, Kiryanov N, Suburova L, Tomkins S, Andreev E, Leon DA. (2005). Alcohol: Clin Exp Res. 29: 1884–1888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Murray CJL, Lopez AD (eds.). (1996). The Global Burden of Disease: A Comprehensive Assessment of Mortality and Disability from Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors in 1990 and Projected to 2020. Harvard School of Public Health on behalf of the World Health Organisation and the World Bank, Boston.Google Scholar
  16. Murray CJL, Lopez A. (1997). Lancet. 349: 1436–1442.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Murray CJL, Salomon JA, Mathers C. (2000). Bull World Health Org. 8: 981–994.Google Scholar
  18. O’Malley SS, Jaffe AJ, Chang G, Rode S, Schottenfeld R, Meyer RE, Rounsaville.(1996). Arch Gen Psychol. 53: 217–224.Google Scholar
  19. Parna K, Lang K, Raju K, Vaeli M, McKee M. (2007). Int J Public Health. 52: 402–410.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Peters TJ, Preedy VR. (1999). Medicine. 27: 11–15.Google Scholar
  21. Preedy VR, Watson RR, editors. (2004). Handbook of Alcohol-Related Pathology, vol 1–3.Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  22. Project MATCH Research Group. (1998). Alcohol: Clin Exp Res. 22: 1300–1311.Google Scholar
  23. Rajendram R, Lewison G, Preedy VR. (2006). Alcohol Alcohol. 41: 99–106.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Rehm J, Baliunas D, Brochu S, et al. (2006a). The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada 2002. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Ottawa (ON).Google Scholar
  25. Rehm J, Patra J, Popova S. (2006b). Addiction. 101: 373–384.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rehm J, Room R, Monteiro M. et al. (2004) Alcohol use. In Comparative Quantification of Health Risks. In: Ezzati M, Lopez AD, Rodgers A, Murray CJL (eds.) Global and Regional Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Major Risk Factors, vol. 1.World Health Organization, Geneva, pp. 959–1109.Google Scholar
  27. Rehm JT, Rehn N, Room R, Monteiro M, Gmel G, Jernigan D, Frick U. (2003a). Eur Addict Res. 9: 147–156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rehm JT, Room R, Monteiro M, Gmel G, Graham K, Rehn N, Sempos CT, Frick U, Jernigan D. (2003b). Eur Addict Res. 9: 157–164.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rehm JT, Sempos CT, Trevisan M. (2003c). J Cardiovasc Risk. 10: 15–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sass H, Soyka M, Mann K, Zieglgänsberger W. (1996). Arch Gen Psych. 53: 673–680.Google Scholar
  31. SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network) (2003). The management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence in primary care – a national clinical guideline. Available at:
  32. The Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. (2003). Alcohol misuse: How much does it cost? Annexe to the Strategy Alcohol Harm Reduction project Interim Analytical Report. The Cabinet Office.Google Scholar
  33. Varney SJ, Guest JF. (2002). Pharmacoeconomics. 20: 891–907.Google Scholar
  34. World Health Organization. (2000). The World Health Report 2000 – Health Systems: Improving Performance. WHO, Geneva.Google Scholar
  35. World Health Organization. (2002). World Health Report 2002. Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life. WHO, Geneva.Google Scholar
  36. World Health Organisation. (2004). Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004. World Health Organisation, Geneva.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Rajendram
  • G. Lewison
  • V. R. Preedy

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations