The Belgian figure was compiled taking into account the World Health Organisation's (WHO) standards: 14 glasses of alcohol per week for women and 21 for men.
Those exceeding this threshold are considered to have a problem. Although they are not necessarily alcoholics, they have a bigger chance to be confronted with physical woes, accidents or relational problems.
"People show a double approach"
Still, Dr Raf Mertens of the KCE says that society has a double approach: "On the one hand, we find it normal that people are consuming alcohol. You even have to join in to engage in social activities on a night out. On the other hand, as soon as there is a problem, it's your own fault." Friends often ignore the problem and are too often leaving drinkers to their own devices .
"This double-sided approach is not encouraging alcohol drinkers to look for help, while at the same time social workers are not always reacting as they should. Sometimes they lack the right skills to ask the right questions or provide the necessary help", Raf Mertens explains.
The KCE is calling for a general 'alcohol plan' to make sure social workers are better trained and that people's mentality changes.