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Alcohol: taking a population perspective

Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology volume 13, pages 426434 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Alcohol consumption is a global phenomenon, as is the resultant health, social and economic harm. The nature of these harms varies with different drinking patterns and with the societal and political responses to the burden of harm; nevertheless, alcohol-related chronic diseases have a major effect on health. Strong evidence exists for the effectiveness of different strategies to minimize this damage and those policies that target price, availability and marketing of alcohol come out best, whereas those using education and information are much less effective. However, these policies can be portrayed as anti-libertarian and so viewing them in the context of alcohol-related harm to those other than the drinker, such as the most vulnerable in society, is important. When this strategy is successful, as in Scotland, it has been possible to pass strong and effective legislation, such as for a minimum unit price for alcohol.

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Acknowledgements

The National Drug Research Institute is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvements Grants Fund.

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Affiliations

  1. National Drug Research Institute, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, 6845, Australia.

    • William Gilmore
    •  & Tanya Chikritzhs
  2. Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia and Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2Y2, Canada.

    • Tim Stockwell
  3. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21205, USA.

    • David Jernigan
  4. Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston University, 801 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02118, USA.

    • Timothy Naimi
  5. University of Liverpool, iC2, Liverpool Science Park, 131 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5TF, UK.

    • Ian Gilmore

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All authors contributed equally to all aspects of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ian Gilmore.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2016.70

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