Thirteen South Koreans died a day on average last year from alcohol-induced and related causes, resulting in social and economic cost of 10 trillion won ($8.8 billion) for the country.
According to data from Statistics Korea, a total of 4,809 Koreans died from alcohol-induced causes in 2017, which means that an average of 13 Koreans died every day.
By age, the death rate was highest for those in their 50s with 22.8 out of 100,000 population dying from alcohol-related reasons.
Data showed that high-risk drinking rate - which refers to average 7 drinks on more than two days per week - reached 14.2 percent in 2017, up 0.4 percentage points from the previous year. One out of every 10 Koreans aged in their 20s were high-risk drinkers. The rate was 20.2 percent for young drinkers in university, higher than adults, with 38.4 percent of them consuming 10 drinks on one occasion, which is more than double the rate of adults.
Data also showed that the average first drinking age for teenagers who should not be drinking was 13.3 years. Data also showed that 16.9 percent were current drinkers that drank at least once in past 30 days.
A 2015 study by Health Insurance Policy Research Institute, meanwhile, showed that drinking led to 9.4 trillion won in social costs in 2013, which is higher than 6.7 trillion won caused from obesity and 7.1 trillion won from smoking.
Alcohol also poses a direct threat to the society.
According to a recent study by the Road Traffic Authority, 9 percent of all traffic accidents were due to drunk driving and 10.3 percent of all casualties. Prosecutorial data also showed last year that intoxication was behind more than 30 percent of serious crime such as murder and robbery.
By Moon Jae-yong and Lee Eun-joo
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