Reducing harm from alcohol use: good practices
AbstractDescription: The countries of the South East-Asia Region, which until recently had low levels of alcohol consumption are moving towards higher levels of consumption, a situation previously unknown in the Region. The impact of global cultural mix could be the reason for this escalation. An increase in alcohol consumption leads to a higher number of people who suffer from problematic use (abuse/harmful use) and addiction (dependence), which heightens public health concern. Alcohol use, especially its harmful use, has substantial adverse personal, familial, social and economic impact and imposes a huge burden on the community and the nation. Increased attention is needed towards prevention of harm from alcohol use, both from the health promotion and social development perspectives. Recognition of the consequences of alcohol use on physical and mental health, as well as on social life, is a necessary step for initiating appropriate action to reduce harm caused. The facts and figures available from the countries of the Region, although not exhaustive or complete, provide an adequate basis for such a recognition. More research is required especially on the epidemiological trends and consequences of alcohol use. The socio-cultural mechanisms related to alcohol use and effective treatment and prevention strategies also need to be explored. The evidence generated will be useful for countries to develop culturally sensitive strategies and programmes for prevention of harmful use of alcohol. Another important aspect is the urgent need to understand and modify the myths and beliefs that shroud alcohol use. The global history of measures taken for alcohol control and scientific evidence available point to the need for pragmatic solutions to the problems as compared to extreme measures like total prohibition. A public health approach that takes into account the trends of alcohol use and an understanding of the inherent intricacies involved is likely to be a more effective.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2013). Reducing harm from alcohol use: good practices. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/205737