Alcohol and drug problems
Tools for change
Draft Global Alcohol Strategy goes to WHO Executive Board
The Executive Board of the World Health Organization will discuss a Draft Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful use of Alcohol in its January 2010 meeting. The documents, including the draft strategy are now available.
WTO negotiations and alcohol policy
There are new movements in the WTO negotiations, also on the issue with the greatest relevance for alcohol policy; namely the Disciplines on Domestic Regulations. Below is a brief update.
Human Development Report 2009 addresses global disparities and migration issues
Despite progress in many areas over the last 25 years, the disparities in peoples well-being in rich and poor countries continue to be unacceptably wide, according to the Human Development Index (HDI) released as part of the 2009 Human Development Report (HDR).
Coming: New estimates of global health risks
An editorial in the September issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization announces a new report with updated estimates of global health risks".
Global alcohol strategy in the making
A working document for developing a draft global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol has been released by the WHO secretariat. The document will be the base for further consultations with WHO member states.
UNODC World Drug Report 2009 published
Global markets for cocaine, opiates and cannabis are steady or in decline, while production and use of synthetic drugs is feared to be increasing in the developing world, says the 2009 edition of the UNODC World Drug report.
Three new booklets
Three papers by Diyanath Samarasinghe, professor at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, published as FORUT booklets explore various aspect of alcohol in a development setting. He addresses the role of unrecorded alcohol, some connections between alcohol and poverty and things we can do to reduce alcohol harm.
WHA passes social determinants resolution
The WHO member states keeps the Social Determinants of Health process on track by passing a resolution based on the commission report at the World Health Assembly last month. The Health Assembly next year will discuss a proposed global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol.
Advertising may lead to increased alcohol consumption
Alcohol marketing increases the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol and increases the amount used by established drinkers. This is the conclusion of a European science group in a report presented to the EU.
One man can!
Men can be mobilized to change men and harmful images of masculinity. Men can be a part of the solution! This was the optimistic message from Kenya and South Africa at a FORUT seminar in Malawi recently.
Contributions to WHO strategy process are now published
Input from NGOs, alcohol industry and other institutions to the WHO process towards a Global Strategy are now available at the WHO web site.
Scientific review of linkages between alcohol, TB and HIV/AIDS
An international group of experts have concluded on the current knowledge base on possible linkages between alcohol and infectious diseases like tuberculoses and HIV/AIDS. Their conclusions are now summarized in an editorial in the international scientific journal Addiction.
Regional WHO consultation meetings on a global alcohol strategy are starting late February
Dates are now set for the regional consultation meetings between WHO and the Member States. They are part of the process towards a Global Strategy to reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol. The first meeting will take place in Bangkok in the end of February.
Substance use in conflict and disaster situations
The UN High Commissioner on Refugees and the World Health Organization have produced a field guide for how to address alcohol and drug problems in populations affected by disaster or conflict.(Photo: UNHCR/B.Bannon)
Alcohol in a globalized worldGlobal Hangover
Swedish journalist Pierre Andersson has investigated the effects of globalization of alcohol. His conclusion in the newly published book "Global Hangover" is simple: alcohol is an obstacle to development.
Health and Development book:"Alcohol: Health Risk and Development Issue"
Alcohol constitutes a double-sided problem in the developing world: on one hand, drinking is in many places a severe and additional burden to the poor and underprivileged, and on the other hand, we also see that new drinking habits, increasing consumption levels, and rising problems occur among a growing middle class in a number of countries.
World Health Organization to develop a global strategy to reduce alcohol related harm
In its session Thursday 22 May the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution that calls for the development of a global strategy to reduce harmful consumption of alcohol. The Global Alcohol Policy Alliance welcomes the decision.
Alcohol prevention on the agenda of the World Health Assembly
This week the World Health Assembly is in session at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. A resolution calling for a global strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm is on the agenda.
Drinks industry supplanting government role in alcohol policies in Sub-Saharan Africa
In a number of Sub-Saharan countries the drinks industry has usurped a governmental role by designing national alcohol policies. Its motive is clearly to safeguard its own vested interests by directing the development of alcohol policies!
International expert meeting: Alcohol research must be protected from industry influence
To protect the integrity and legitimacy of alcohol research, there should be no funding relationship between the alcohol industry and the research community. This was the conclusion from an expert meeting in Dublin, 15-16 May, where experiences with the industry from Europe, the US and the South were presented.
Alcohol Atlas of India
Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance has published the Alcohol Atlas of India. In the ceremony Indian Health Minister Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss was the Chief Guest. The Alcohol Atlas is a useful reference guide for policy makers, professionals, national and international organizations and institutions who are engaged on alcohol issues
UNODC calls for a comprehensive approach to drug problems
Some have perceived a contradiction between drug prevention and treatment on the one hand and efforts to reduce the negative health and social consequences of drug use on the other. However, in a new discussion paper, UNODC says that these are in fact complementary rather than contradictory.
WHO Board adopts resolution calling for a global strategy
The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) passed on the 22nd of January a resolution that will be recommended to the World Health Assembly in May this year, asking for a global strategy on harmful use of alcohol.
New study on alcohol's role in chronic poverty in UgandaDrinking into deeper poverty
An on-going study by the Development Research And Training in Uganda and the International Chronic Poverty Research Centre is exploring the links between excessive alcohol consumption and poverty. A first result is a Policy Brief aimed for a cross-section of development practitioners and policy makers.
New statistics presented: HIV prevalence has levelled off
New data show that global HIV prevalence - the number of people living with HIV - has levelled off. The number of new infections has fallen. This was the conclusion drawn by UNAIDS when new AIDS statistics were presented.
UNGASS 2009: UN review of international conventions on narcotic drugs
The United Nations has started a process to assess the results of the international efforts to combat illicit drugs and to review the international conventions on narcotic drugs. The process will be completed with a special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS) in New York in 2009.
Editorial in The Lancet calls for a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control
The influential medical journal The Lancet has in a recent editorial called for a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control. The journal says that next year's World Health Assembly provides a crucial opportunity for WHO and member states to make those first steps towards a global treaty to reduce alcohol-related harm.
UNODC: Significant and positive changes in world drugs markets
- Whereas a few years ago the world appeared to be heading for an epidemic of drug abuse, growing evidence suggests that the problem is being brought under control. This was the conclusion of the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, when the 2007 edition of the World Drug Report was presented in Vienna.
Alcohol controversial item at World Health Assembly
The World Health Assembly in Geneva in May discussed strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm. In spite of broad support from many of the WHO member countries to a resolution calling for global action on the harmful use of alcohol, the discussion ended in a stalemate. The WHO Executive Board will take up the issue again in its meeting in January next year.
New tool kit for development agencies
A new tool kit for development agencies was presented by FORUT at a conference in Oslo today. The tools shall make it easier for NGOs and governments to include aspects of alcohol and drug prevention in their programs and projects. This web site is one of the tools in the new kit.
UN Anti-Drugs Campaign to be launched on the 26th of June
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNOCD) will use the 26th of June, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, to launch a new anti-drugs campaign. Slogan: "Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs."
African Journal: Role of substance abuse in the African HIV/AIDS epidemic
The latest issue of the African Journal of Drug and Alcohol studies is devoted to broadening the knowledge base on the role of alcohol and drugs in the spreading of HIV/AIDS in Africa. New research material is presented from Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
A chequered year for drug control
2006 was a mixed year for international drug control, with both good and bad news. This is the conclusion of UNODC – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – in their Annual Report 2007, which covers activities in 2006.
WHO Expert Committee Report
Today the report from the WHO Expert Committee on Problems Related to Alcohol Consumption was presented. The Commitee urges the World Health Organization to continue to play a leading role in coordinating a global response to the global nature of alcohol problems. It also recommends that WHO continue its practice of no collaboration with the alcohol industry.
Alcohol as a development issue discussed in Oslo and Stockholm
- In South Africa we have one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world, combined with very risky patterns of drinking. There is an urgent need to raise awareness about the threat of alcohol consumption to development in the Southern African region (Dr. Neo Morojele, picture)
WHO:Alcohol Use and Sexual Risk Behaviour
A number of patterns of interaction exist between alcohol use and sexual risk taking. This is one of the findings of the WHO study 'Alcohol Use and Sexual Risk Behaviour: A Cross-Cultural Study in Eight Countries'. This has implications for prevention programmes, both in the alcohol and in the hiv/aids field.
World Health Assembly set to discuss alcohol
The Health ministers from all over the world will discuss the health burden of alcohol in the forthcoming World Health Assembly to be held in Geneva 14-23 May. This is the follow up of the WHA resolution 58.26 Public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol, from 2005, the first WHA resolution exclusively on alcohol since 1983. The documents for the alcohol issue are now available on the WHO site.
New legislation in Sri Lanka
- The new Parliament Act on alcohol and tobacco control is a major breakthrough for public health promotion in Sri Lanka. And just as important, we have experienced how youth of a country can be a powerful force that can be effectively mobilized to take care of public health policies, says Pubudu Sumanasekara, the director of ADIC, the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre in Colombo.
Alcohol: No ordinary commodity
The summary of the book by Thomas Babor and a team of researchers, Alcohol: No ordinary Commodity; research and public policy is now available for free on the web site of the journal Addiction. Comments to the various chapters of the book can also be downloaded from the site.
Policy papers on alcohol industry
AlcoholPolicyMD.com is a website dedicated to promoting physician and community action on alcohol and health. Two policy papers published by the American Medical Association focus on the alcohol industry, its structure and organization and ask if it partner or foe?
Sri Lankan youth mobilizing in support of new Alcohol Act
The new Sri Lankan youth organization, 4U, is now mobilizing young people in support of the new Tobacco and Alcohol Act. They have started a signature campaign to collect one million signatures for an effective implementation of the new regulations on sale and promotion of alcohol and tobacco. A rather unique action, which has not been seen in many countries before.
Alcohol and drugs included in Norway's HIV and AIDS position paper
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published its HIV and AIDS policy in the form of a position paper in development cooperation. In the document the growing understanding of alcohol's role in the spread of the infection is reflected.
Appeal to WHO: Framework Convention on Alcohol Control
The American Public Health Alliance (APHA) has urged the World Health Organization to adopt and implement a binding international treaty modelled after the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
EU Process leads to alcohol strategy
Based two reports and an extensive consultation process the European Commission on October 24 adopted a Communication setting out a strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm.
FORUT contributes in WHO online survey
In September WHO asked NGOs and other stakeholders to contribute their views on two questions related to alcohol and public health: 1) The magnitude of health related problems related to alcohol consumption and 2) Effective interventions to reduce health problems related to alcohol consumption. Read FORUTs contribution here.
Asia Pacific Alcohol Alliance formed
During an Alcohol Policy conference in Bangkok i August the Asia Pacific Alcohol Policy Alliance (APAPA) was launched.
FORUT joins Worldalcohol.net
FORUT has joined a new network of NGOs which is set up to facilitate WHO-NGO communication in the wake of the WHA 58.26 resolution on Public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol.
A call for action: Influencing the GATS negotiations
Some of the discussions under the GATS Agreement are of great importance for the future of national alcohol control policies, not the least in developing countries where we see increasing alcohol consumption as a result of economic development.
The promise of youth
The multinational beer and liquor giants have designated the developing countries as their new growth sector for alcohol, since consumption in Western countries appears to be stagnating. And the large youth populations of developing societies will naturally be target group no 1. A new booklet from FORUT The promise of youth provides some snapshots of this development with examples from India, Sri Lanka and Malawi.
CWIN studies impact of advertisements of alcohol and tobacco on children in Nepal
FORUT partner Child Workers in Nepal, Concerned Centre (CWIN) has published the report "Impact of Advertisements of Alcohol and Tobacco on Children" based on a study done Nepal. The young people in Nepal consider television advertising to be the most influential instrument in promoting alcohol use among youth and children.