Management of substance abuse

Global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol

For the first time, delegations from all 193 Member States of World Health Organization (WHO) reached consensus at the World Health Assembly on a global strategy to confront the harmful use of alcohol. Since 2008, WHO has been in the process of drafting a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. On Friday 21 May 2010 the Sixty-third session of the World Health Assembly adopted by consensus resolution WHA63.13, which endorses the global strategy.

The harmful use of alcohol is a serious health burden, and it affects virtually all individuals on an international scale. Health problems from dangerous alcohol use arise in the form of acute and chronic conditions, and adverse social consequences are common when they are associated with alcohol consumption. Every year, the harmful use of alcohol kills 2.5 million people, including 320 000 young people between 15 and 29 years of age. It is the third leading risk factor for poor health globally, and harmful use of alcohol was responsible for almost 4% of all deaths in the world, according to the estimates for 2004.

The global strategy focuses on ten key areas of policy options and interventions at the national level and four priority areas for global action.

The ten areas for national action are:

  • leadership, awareness and commitment;
  • health services' response;
  • community action;
  • drink-driving policies and countermeasures;
  • availability of alcohol;
  • marketing of alcoholic beverages;
  • pricing policies;
  • reducing the negative consequences of drinking and alcohol intoxication;
  • reducing the public health impact of illicit alcohol and informally produced alcohol;
  • monitoring and surveillance.

The four priority areas for global action are:

  • public health advocacy and partnership;
  • technical support and capacity building;
  • production and dissemination of knowledge;
  • resource mobilization.

The implementation of the global strategy will require active collaboration with Member States, with appropriate engagement of international development partners, civil society, the private sector, as well as public health and research institutions. WHO an its Memer States are dedicated to work togehter to address the key areas of policy options and interventions, to interact with relevant stakeholder and to ensure that the strategy is implemented both nationally and globally. The progress of the strategy will be assessed at the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly in 2013.


For queries about the global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol:

World Health Organization
Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster (NMH)
20, Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak
Coordinator
Management of Substance Abuse
Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Tel: +41 22 791 43 07
Fax: +41 22 791 48 51
Email: poznyakv@who.int

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