The Flemish Association for Alcohol and Other Drug Problems (VAD) has revised its responsible beverage alcohol consumption guidelines to no more than 10 units of alcohol per week for males and females. Approximately 12% of men and 11% of women in Flanders exceeded VAD’s previous recommendation of no more than three glasses of alcohol a day for men and two glasses of alcohol a day for women.” VAD Director Marijs Geirnaert said the organisation “used to only distinguish between people with and without dependence,” but that this approach is no longer sufficient. VAD has also published a number of “harm reduction tips” alongside the new guidelines, such as avoiding extreme drinking by spreading the 10 units over several days of the week.
The Flemish Agency for Care and Health (VAZG) has published new statistics indicating that the level of harmful drinking has increased. Approximately 10% of the public engaged in harmful drinking in 2013, compared to 6% in 2004. VAZG researchers also speculate that alcohol was a contributing risk factor in approximately 3.5% of deaths in the country and reported that harmful drinking and alcohol dependency have increased among men from approximately 8% in 2004 to 15% in 2013. This is nearly three times higher than the rate among women.