Alcoholic beverages have been produced and consumed by humans for millennia. Alcohol is used in some societies as part of religious ceremony—to commemorate important milestones, for example, or as an offering to ancestors. Alcohol is also considered by many societies to be central to celebrations and social cohesion. However, alcohol consumption is not ubiquitous globally; two-thirds of the world’s population does not use alcohol. 
Alcohol is also a toxic, psychoactive, carcinogenic substance that can damage the health of individuals and communities. As one of the foremost underlying causes of premature death, disease, injury, disability and violence, the harmful use of alcohol is an obstacle to human development across the world.  And its impact goes beyond health. Harmful alcohol consumption also has negative social and economic effects on individuals, families and civic life.
Despite alcohol’s burden, stemming the harmful use of alcohol remains a low priority among countries. Unless alcohol policy is given more attention, harmful use of alcohol and its consequences will continue to grow.  Urgency is required.