About alcohol


The following resources include statistics about worldwide alcohol consumption presented by WHO; a unique Well-being survey conducted by OCHA Staff Welfare Office; questionnaire; guides; and other practical resources to assist staff in understanding alcohol.

Facts & Figures

  • Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol. This represent 5.9 % of all deaths.
  • The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.
  • Overall 5.1 % of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in ‘disability-adjusted life years‘ (DALYs).
  • Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In the age group 20 – 39 years approximately 25% of the total deaths are alcohol-attributable.
  • There is a causal relationship between harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioural disorders, including other noncommunicable conditions, and physical injuries.
  • The latest causal relationships have been established between harmful drinking and incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis as well as the course of HIV/AIDS.
  • Beyond health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large.

Alcohol Fact sheet, [World Health Organisation, 2015], assessed 26/10/2015

In the OCHA staff well-being survey, 2014; of the colleagues who reported that they drank alcohol, 51% also showed signs that they were at risk for long term health concerns resulting from their alcohol consumption.

How do we know when we are at risk from alcohol ?

The CAGE questionnaire [Mayfield, McLeod & Hall (1974)] can help you determine if alcohol use might be a problem. It asks four simple questions:

Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking? (Yes/No)
Have people ever Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? (Yes/No)
Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking? (Yes/No)
Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover (Eye-opener)? (Yes/No)

If “yes” is provided as an answer to two or more questions, this could indicate a risk for problems from alcohol use.


More about alcohol use

Alcohol & You, is a self help guide by the ‘Northhumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust‘, that explores different types of drinking; helps you recognize your own patterns; describes how you can change (if you want to); and suggests how you might get further help.

Guide to slowing down, Overcoming an addiction to alcohol can be a long and bumpy road. At times, it may even feel impossible. But it’s not. This site is full of practical resources that will help get you started on the road to recovery.

Effects of alcohol on your work, a series of questions that will help you become more aware of your drinking. This site is targeted to humanitarian workers.



The OCHA Staff Counsellor can provide support or advice if you would like to change your alcohol use, or if you believe your loved one could be at risk.