Corrected Task Force Members at a meeting 11-03-2010 KIBOKO Town Hotel 180p
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FACTS

No silver bullets exist. Effective alcohol policies are composed of a set of interventions chosen from these three areas; regulation, education and mobilization.

A clear statement on the purpose of the policy: Prevention of alcohol-related harm and protection of public health and welfare.

Check-list for effective alcohol policies

An alcohol policy is typically understood as an authoritative decision or document by governments to minimize or prevent alcohol-related harm to individuals and the society. Alcohol policies can, when carefully designed and effectively implemented, contribute towards increased welfare and safety, improved public health and towards social development in nations and communities.

 

No silver bullets exist. Effective alcohol policies are composed of a set of interventions chosen from these three areas; regulation, education and mobilization. Some interventions have proven to be effective also as stand-alone interventions, but most interventions are more effective if they can interact with other interventions.

Good national alcohol policies never emerge out of the blue. They are often a result of long and complex political processes, often involving many conflicting interests and stakeholders. The most effective interventions are also often the most controversial political issues, in particular regulation of the alcohol market. Therefore political leadership, research support and strong civil society voices are needed.

Non-governmental organizations and other civil society groups may serve several functions in alcohol policy processes:

  • To advocate for the need of new policies and stronger efforts by government;

  • To be part of policy development processes representing public health interests;

  • To check if government policies have the needed quality and standards to reduce alcohol-related harm;

  • To rally public support behind good national alcohol policies;

  • To serve as watchdogs towards national and local authorities in the implementation of policies and interventions;

  • To implement parts of national policies in agreement with the government.

The points below are a check-list for use in alcohol policy processes. The list contains key interventions and elements which ideally should be part of a national policy document. It can be used both as a menu to pick from when policies are being developed and as a check-list to test the quality of an existing policy draft.

Many of the points are taken from the conclusions in the research monograph “Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity” (Babor, T. et al, 2010), which is a review of 42 commonly used alcohol policy interventions. Other points have been included to cover the areas of education and mobilization in “The Prevention Triangle”

Check-list for effective alcohol policies

A national alcohol policy should ideally have good formulations on the following issues or on as many of the issues as possible:

  1. A clear statement on the purpose of the policy: Prevention of alcohol-related harm and protection of public health and welfare

     

  2. Alcohol taxation to reduce consumption of alcohol

     

  3. Taxation revenues dedicated for alcohol prevention

     

  4. Minimum legal age for sale and purchase of alcohol (minimum 18 years, preferably 20 or 21)

     

  5. Restrictions on hours and days of sale

     

  6. Licensing of producers and points of sales, including informal producers and outlets.

     

  7. Outlet density restrictions.

     

  8. Government monopoly of retail sales

     

  9. Ban on alcohol promotion and sponsoring (total ban or partial regulations)

     

  10. Low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits in road traffic (0.5 or less).

     

  11. Sobriety check-points and random breath-testing.

     

  12. Administrative license suspension or other swift punishment for offenders of legislation on drunken driving.

     

  13. Screening and brief interventions at primary health care units.

     

  14. Public campaigns to mobilize support for alcohol policies.

     

  15. Programmes to challenge prevailing alcohol expectancies.

     

  16. Training programmes for relevant government officers and professions (doctors, police, teachers, religious leaders, NGO leaders etc).

     

  17. Life-skills education and education on the real effects of alcohol for young people.

     

  18. Support to NGOs involved in alcohol prevention and treatment.

     

  19. System to collect data on alcohol consumption and related harm.

     

  20. A specific authority or unit for implementation and follow-up of the policy and relevant laws and regulations.

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