Such judgments will usually be couched in some such term as 'moderation' but the line between moderation and alcohol abuse is controversial. Those who drink 'moderately' are much less likely to suffer coronary heart disease than are teetotallers and heavy drinkers, partly because alcohol can alleviate stress. Most people are aware that alcohol abuse does exist and that certain persons become addicted to alcohol; but an ambivalent attitude is nevertheless displayed towards excessive consumption which is often a combination of amused tolerance and condemnation of the addict for his so-called 'vice' and inability to control his drinking.
Between 1965 and 1980 alcohol consumption increased very rapidly in Western countries, but also in Japan, Mexico and the Korean Republic. France and Italy, which were the highest alcohol-consuming countries in Europe in 1970, have reduced consumption from 17.3 litres per head to 12.6, and 16 litres to 9.4, respectively. Alcohol consumption in the UK has risen from 5.3 to 7 litres per head. In Russia, alcohol consumption rose from 11 litres in 1986 to 14.5 litres per capita in 1994. One expert estimates that the average Russian man drinks 250 ml of vodka a day.
In 1997, France led in the per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Every French citizen over 15 years of age consumed on average the equivalent of 14.1 litres of pure alcohol per year. The Swedes and Finns, with consumption 6.4 and 8.4 litres respectively, were the most sober.
A study found that underage drinking and adult excessive drinking accounted for more than half of the alcohol consumed in the United States. The report [Alcohol Consumption and Expenditures for Underage Drinking and Adult Excessive Drinking] revealed that in 1999, underage drinking amounted to 19.7 percent of alcohol consumed and adult excessive drinking amounted to 30.4 percent of alcohol consumed - together, $56.9 billion of the total $116.2 billion spent on alcohol.
2. Beer mops up aluminium (which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
3. Alcoholism in Russia is held partly responsible for the drop of 7 years in male life expectancy.