A Review of the Public Health Implications of Alcohol Abuse

Kennedy Aborlo Nkporbu, Kingsley Enyinaya Douglas



Alcohol is a biochemical substance with multiple and varied biochemical effects in the body. Its abuse has continued to be a problem in our society and its misuse has equally become a serious and worsening public health problem world over. The misuse of alcohol, whether as chronically heavy drinking, binge-drinking or even moderate drinking in inappropriate circumstances not only poses a threat to the health and well being of the drinker, but also to family, friends, communities and wider society. Alcohol use has been found to be associated with enormous psychological, social and medical health problems. It also reduces the quality of life of the individual and particularly the dependent person. Alcohol decreases Life Expectancy and causes enormous economic burden on individuals, families and government. Sadly, the health problems of alcohol abuse seem to be poorly appreciated by those who consume it as well as the public and the existence of co-morbidities equally seem to be poorly identified by clinicians. The aim of this study therefore is to review and give an exposition of the public health implications of alcohol use. This review was justified by the fact that alcohol abuse is indeed a public health problem and that further findings from the review will help to increase public and clinicians' knowledge and awareness of the various health problems and complications of alcohol abuse, and increase the diagnostic ability of clinicians.


The review was carried out using search engines into peer review journals including Pubmed and Cochrane library.


From the review, it was found out that alcohol is associated with various physical (medical) conditions across all the systems of the body, social complications which include RTA, cultism, armed robbery, frequent rate of school disruptions, family problems, neglect of social responsibilities, high indebtedness, indiscriminate sexual activities/ sexual promiscuity, poor academic performances, low national productivity, frequent burden of care on the nation's economy, frequent burden of care on the family and wife and child battery. Alcohol has been associated with over V6 of deaths and major injuries suffered in automobile accidents each year, about 50% of all murders, 40% of all assaults, 35% of all rapes and about 30% of all suicides and various shades and forms of mental-ill health.


Based on the findings from the study, it is recommended that effective legislation, greater and comprehensive consideration of public health implications of alcohol and alcohol-related harm at all levels of health care, preventive, promotive and health education, integration of community participation in the prevention models and inculcation of substance abuse studies into the existing education curriculum will go a long way in addressing the problems of alcohol abuse in our society.


Public Health Implications; Alcohol Abuse


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ISSN: 1597-4292