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A group of medical organizations from around the world this week issued a statement calling on doctors to take the lead in demanding action to reduce alcohol misuse.

The statement, issued in The Lancet, said doctors, who are valued and trusted, are in a unique position to lead and inform this initiative. It comes in advance of  next week’s United Nations Summit on Non-communicable Diseases, HealthDay reports.

Two billion people worldwide consume alcohol, and of these, 76.3 million have alcohol misuse problems, the statement notes, adding that alcohol use is the third leading risk factor for preventable and premature disease.

“It is every clinician’s responsibility to address alcohol harm, both on a daily basis with individual patients and in the wider context of health harms and inequalities at the population level,” the statement says. “We ask governments to act urgently and to champion evidence-based initiatives for the implementation of effective alcohol strategies at all levels to improve the health of populations worldwide.”

The statement is signed by 15 medical groups, including the American College of Physicians, and organizations from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Nigeria, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Thailand.

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