“Drink and be merry”? Think again. Alcohol may seem harmless and fun, but it takes a serious toll on lives and health.

The United Nations has warned that alcohol kills millions of people every year and poses serious health risks, including liver damage, cancer, heart disease and poor mental health.

According to the World Health Organisation:

> The harmful use of alcohol causes more than 200 disease and injury conditions.

> Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol. This represents 5.3% of all deaths.

> Overall, 5.1% of the global burden of disease and injury is due to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years.

> Besides health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large.

> Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In people aged 20-39 years, about 13.5% of total deaths can be traced to alcohol.

> There is a clear link between harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioural disorders, other noncommunicable conditions and injuries.

Turn down alcohol. Stay sober. Stay healthy. Stay safe.