Alcohol and drug problems
Tools for change
WHO Bulletin on Global Fund conflict of interest
An article in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization raises concerns regarding conflict of interest in a partnership where SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer by sales volume, receive funding from the Global Fund for a HIV/AIDS prevention project in drinking establishements in South Africa. "No conflict of interest" replies the Global Fund.
South African Minister of Social Development:“We have to be robust in reducing harm caused by alcohol"
- We are committed to using evidence-based strategies to reduce the harm caused by alcohol use and abuse. South African Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini.
Questionable tactics in marketing
Alcohol producers are using questionable tactics to market their beer and liqour brands in the developing world. This is one of the conclusions in a study covering selected advertisements from seven countries.
African women are non-drinkers
81 per cent of African women report themselves to be non-drinkers, says data from the World Health Surveys. This is an important fact to take into account in planning of alcohol prevention strategies and policies.
UN adopts declaration on non-communicable diseases
The United Nations High Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases in New York recently adopted a Political Declaration calling for greater measures at global, regional and national levels to prevent and control NCDs.
Journal Addiction calls for action on alcohol and NCD
An editorial by Robin Room, Jürgen Rehm and Charles Parry in the journal Addiction points to the September High Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly as an occasion to remedy the relative lack of action on alcohol in reducing the burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD).
Zambia: An alcohol policy alliance in the making?
Zambia needs a stronger NGO voice to promote public health concerns in alcohol policy formulation. This was one of the conclusions in a meeting for civil society organizations in Lusaka on the 10th of June.
Lack of clarity on role of industry for UN NCD meetingNGOs express concern over conflict of interest
79 NGOs from various sectors have issued a statement of concern to the President of the UN General Assembly. The NGOs are concerned about the lack of clarity of roles for the industry sector in the recently held UN interactive hearing for civil society and the UN High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCD) in September.
New WHO report:Monitoring Alcohol Marketing in Africa
Effective legislation is necessary to strictly regulate alcohol marketing activities. This is one of the recommendations in a new report; "Monitoring Alcohol Marketing in Africa", released by WHO AFRO today.
Fetal alcohol syndrome: Dashed hopes, damaged lives
“He asks me why I drank so much while I was expecting him. I don’t really have answers for him”, says South African mother Marion Williams in a recent article of the WHO Bulletin. She lost two of her children in child birth.
PLoS Medicine Editorial:Questions alcohol industry
A recent editorial in the peer-reviewed open access journal PLoS Medicine asks why medical journals and public health advocates who are concerned with corporate conflicts of interest, inappropriate marketing to children, impotent self-regulation, and general flouting of the rules are ignoring the alcohol industry.
WHO Western Pacific Region relases guide:Developing effective alcohol legislation
Many governments realize the need for effective legislation to reduce the harm from alcohol use. This is also reccommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. But how to do it? WHO Western Pacific Regional Office has offered a guide.
PEPFAR Southern & Eastern Africa Technical ConsultationAlcohol and HIV Prevention
More than 80 participants representing fourteen countries in East and Southern Africa met in Windhoek, Namibia last month to share approaches to alcohol-related HIV prevention programs. Presentations from the meeting are available from the AIDSTAR-One web site.
First WHO Global status report on NCDsMillions of NCD deaths can be prevented
Noncommunicable diseases are the leading killer today and are on the increase, the first WHO Global status report on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) launched In Moscow during the WHO Global Forum confirms. But millions of deaths can be prevented by stronger implementation of measures that exist today.
WHO DG Margaret Chan at Moscow Global Forum:The rise of NCD: an impending disaster
At the opening of the recent WHO Global Forum, Addressing the Challenge of Noncommunicable Diseases, Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, in her opening statement called the rise of chronic noncommunicable diseases an impending disaster - for health, for society, and most of all for national economies."
Invitations are now out:Global Alcohol Policy Conference in Bangkok in November
The Global Alcohol Policy Conference 2011 will take place in Bangkok, Thailand 28 - 30 November. Title: “From the Global Alcohol Strategy to National and Local Action”.
Lesotho: Training session held on evidence-based alcohol policies
“Prevention of alcohol problems is a leadership issue for the whole nation. The issue must be brought to the top of our political agenda”, says Lesotho’s Honourable Minister of Tourism, M. Ramaili (picture left). Lesotho’s alcohol policy will now be revised.
Promotion campaign in the US:"Drink vodka to prevent HIV/AIDS!"
“The most hypocritical Product (Red) product yet”, says the US based Marin Institute about Belvedere Vodka. This vodka brand is now promoted with the objective to "empower global consumers to help eliminate HIV/AIDS with (BELVEDERE)RED Special Edition."
Research report from Zambia:Alcohol advertising works while alcohol education seems to have little effect
Alcohol advertising seeks to influence young people’s drinking habits while alcohol education programs appears not to have the same effect in preventing youth from drinking. This is the key result of a study from Zambia which was published recently.
Say South African health experts:Global Fund SAB tie is extremely problematic
South African Breweries and the Global Fund has formalised a partnership to fight against HIV and AIDS. "This arrangement is extremely problematic and is in our view, completely unacceptable" say health experts pointing to conflict of interest, lack of evidence base and questionable quality of programme.
New manual for community involvement from CWC, IndiaChildren as agents of change
Children can make a real difference in their communities. A new manual on rights-based research from Concerned for Working Children (CWC) in Bangalore, India shows how children can be empowered to influence their community and also local alcohol policies.
Health versus profits:Conflict over liquor sachets in Malawi
Malawi now experiences a conflict over liquor sachets. Government and NGOs versus alcohol producers. Health versus profits. Also other countries in Africa face problems with the small plastic bags with strong liquor.
Pop star Bryan Adams challenged by Nepali NGOs on alcohol promotion
We love your music, but we do not like that you come to Nepal to promote alcohol! This was the challenge from Nepali NGOs to the famous pop star Bryan Adams when he visited Kathmandu recently.
An alcohol policy alliance for Southern Africa under formation
An initiative to establish a Southern Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance has been taken. An interim board was elected at a meeting in Kampala.
Alcohol nourishes gender-based violence in Rwanda
Every third man who has been drinking alcohol beats his partner according to a study in Rwanda from 2010. The cultural norm constituted in a society like Rwanda is that the man decides, men dominate. It is a characteristic for many countries in Africa where women's rights remain subordinate to those of their husbands.
New WHO report confirmsAlcohol kills more people globally than HIV/AIDS
The 2011 edition of the Global status report on alcohol and health confirms that alcohol is a major threat to global public health and welfare. Drinking alcohol kills more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or violence.
WHO:Global Strategy and Alcohol Atlas
Two key documents are now available from the freshly redesigned web site of the WHO Management of Substance Abuse.
Addiction editorial:Alcohol and Non-Communicable Diseases
An editorial in the January 2011 issue of the journal Addiction argues that alcohol should be included when a special High Level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly will discuss Non-Communicable Diseases in September 2011.
National Conference in ThailandAlcohol in the Globalized World
- Thailand will never give trade benefits higher priority than public health, declared Thai Prime Minister Abhisit at this year’s National Alcohol Conference in Bangkok.
ActionAid exposes tax dodging by SABMillerAfrican countries loose out on beer taxes
In a recent report and campaign UK charity ActionAid asks brewing gigant SABMiller to stop dodging tax in Africa. The report reveals how the world’s second biggest brewer uses a complex system of tax havens to siphon profits out of subsidiaries in developing countries, depriving those governments of significant amounts of tax.
Noncommunicable diseases:Consulted NGOs before high level meeting
Last week the Norwegian Directorate of Health hosted the WHO Regional High-level Consultation on Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) in Oslo. The day prior to the High-level meeting a dialogue was held between Norwegian authorities and non-governmental organizations. A declaration from the NGO-meeting was communicated directly to the delegates at the WHO meeting.
First African KBS meeting for alcohol researchers held in Uganda
"The price we are paying for the drinking culture in Africa today is that we loose many of our young people", said Professor Isidore Obot (Nigeria) in his overview of the African situation at the KBS meeting in Kampala, Uganda.
Publication on intimate partner violence and alcoholCheers to the family
No society is immune from intimate partner violence. Alcohol plays a significant role in those tragic events, breeding violence from the combination of intoxication with ill-conceived images of masculinity and repressive social norms.
Men of Quality are not afraid of Equality
This was one of the messages that came out of the conference “Reconstructing Manhood?” which took place in Oslo 26-27 October. The conference was the first of its kind in Norway, presenting experiences from engaging men in developing countries to a Norwegian audience.
Special Issue of AIDS and Behavior:Current issues in Alcohol use and HIV research and prevention in India
A recent supplemental of the journal AIDS and Behavior is a collection of recent work by Indian researchers and Indo-U.S. partnerships, examining the intersection of alcohol and HIV in India.
New alcohol policy in the making in Malawi
Malawi has embarked on a process to develop a new national alcohol policy. “The Malawian way” could well serve as a model for other countries!
Alcohol: the forgotten drug in HIV/AIDS
In a comment in The Lancet, August 7, three researchers point out that alcohol has long been recognised as an important contributor to illness and injury, accounting for 4% of the global burden of disease. Yet alcohol remains conspicuously absent from the larger field of research and programming in HIV and substance use.
New American report: Alcohol Companies Use New Media to Lure Young Drinkers
The alcohol industry uses the whole menu of new social media to reach new drinkers and to promote their brands. Sophisticated marketing techniques are being used, concludes a new report just launched in the US.
Protection from illicit drugs – a child rights issue
- Protecting children from illicit drugs is not an option for State Parties to the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It is an obligation. This is the conclusion in a report that was presented at the World Forum Against Drugs in Stockholm.
Forum Syd Sweden addresses alcohol and development
Alcohol is now recognised as a strategic development issue in Forum Syd, Sweden, according to a decision taken in the general assembly of the Forum. – A decision of great importance, comments Per-Åke Andersson from IOGT-NTO in Sweden.
Updated with Dr. M. Chan's closing remarks:A Global Alcohol Strategy adopted by the World Health Assembly
The World Health Assembly passed on the 20th of May a resolution endorsing a Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol. It was a very interesting discussion in the Assembly where some 35 member states spoke - all in favour of the strategy. Three NGOs/civil society alliances also made statements supporting the resolution.
UN General Assembly asks for High Level meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases
Yesterday the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene a high-level UN meeting in September 2011 on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. Heads of State and Government will be attending
A well grounded Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol
The World Health Assembly, at its meeting in May, will have before it a Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.
Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity – Second Edition
A new and updated edition of the book Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity is now available from Oxford University Press, written by an international group of alcohol researchers under the leadership of Professor Thomas Babor (picture below).
CRISA conference in NigeriaAlcohol, Drugs and HIV/AIDS in Africa
The African Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) has announced that its International Conference on “Drugs and Society in Africa” will take place in Abuja, Nigeria, in August 2010. The conference will focus on the role of alcohol and other drug use in the HIV/AIDS epidemics in different African societies.
Health researchers call for alcohol industry to prove no harm in funding of sports
Researchers from Australia and the UK are calling for a new approach to the debate over whether alcohol industry sponsorship of sports increases drinking among sports participants. They want to shift the burden of proof to the alcohol industry.
WHO Executive Board recommends alcohol strategy to Assembly
On Friday 22 January the WHO Executive Board Session passed a resolution which recommends to the World Health Assembly (WHA) to endorse the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.
Alcohol policy training in Malawi and Botswana
Malawi and Botswana became the two first countries to test a new training package on evidence-based alcohol policies. Namibia will be the next country early in 2010.
Drinks industry supplanting government role in Sub-Saharan Africa
The multinational drinks industry has made attempts to take control over alcohol policy formulation in a number of African countries.
New study shows:Infectious diseases have alcohol link
A new study establishes a causal link between alcohol use and the risk of contracting TB and pneumonia, as well as influence from alcohol use on the progression of TB and HIV.