Prioritising Action on Alcohol for Health and Development

Globally, alcohol consumption is estimated to cause more than 10% of the burden of noncommunicable diseases, including cirrhosis of the liver, respiratory disease, pancreatitis, cancers (oral and pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colorectal), strokes and hypertension.

Dag Rekve and colleagues claim: "Despite the existence of cost effective interventions to reduce harmful use of alcohol, many countries are not giving it the attention it deserves"

This analysis, published by the bmj, provides evidence that points to a continuing need for action on alcohol in all countries. 

It also highlights the lack of intervention implementation in certain countries and suggests some of the barriers that professionals and policymakers face when trying to adopt approaches that will prevent harmful alcohol consumption.

Key messages

  • Harmful use of alcohol is among the leading risk factors for the global burden of disease

  • Cost effective strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol exist and should be more widely used, with an equity focus

  • Global and regional policy frameworks and guidance can help countries to develop national and local alcohol policies and programmes

  • The alcohol industry should not be allowed to influence public health policy

  • Civil society can advocate for action and hold policy makers and government agencies to account

Rekve, D., Banatvala, N., Karpati, A., Tarlton, D., Westerman, L., Sperkova, K., ... & Monteiro, M. (2019). Prioritising action on alcohol for health and development. bmj, 367.
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