Medical research has confirmed time and time again the health risks associated with drinking, but what about the people who are harmed as the result of someone else consuming alcohol?
Researchers at the Munich-based Institute for Therapy Research (IFT) revealed the dangerous and sometimes deadly impact of alcohol consumption on third-party people, in a study published on Tuesday, March 19, Deutsche Welle reports.
They found that an estimated 15,500 babies born in Germany in 2014 were born with disabilities due to alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The team also found that drunk drivers were involved in nearly half of fatal traffic accidents, while alcohol also plays a factor in deadly physical altercations.
"The harmful effects of alcohol on others need to be recognized as a public health problem in the same way as are the harmful effects on the drinker or the costs to society," the researchers wrote in the study.
The study estimated that 12,650 babies were born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in 2014, while an estimated 2,930 were born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) that same year.
Babies who are born with FASD or its more severe version, FAS, are typically underweight, have physical defects and small head circumferences. Their motor abilities are limited and they often experience cognitive, behavioral and emotional deficits.
Drivers who get behind the wheel drunk also pose a serious risk to pedestrians and the passengers of other cars.
The study found that alcohol was a factor in over 45 percent of road traffic fatalities in 2014.
Out of 2,694 traffic fatalities that took place in 2014, some 1,214 deaths occurred in accidents where alcohol was a factor.
Alcohol also plays a significant role in the number of people who die in Germany every year as a result of physical assault or another violent altercation.
Out of the 368 people who died from injuries sustained during "interpersonal violence" in 2014, 55 of the deaths were in situations where alcohol played a role.