Management of substance abuse

Meeting with stakeholders on health problems related to alcohol consumption

9 October 2006 - Geneva, Switzerland

The World Health Organization Secretariat has concluded a one-day consultation with representatives from selected academic institutions, research departments, civil society groups and alcohol industry and trade groups to give them the opportunity to present their views and positions on public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol and effective policies and interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm.

A 2005 World Health Assembly resolution on public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol requests the Director-General of the World Health Organization, inter alia, to draw up recommendations for effective policies and interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm, and to report to the Sixtieth World Health Assembly in 2007 on evidence-based strategies and interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm, including a comprehensive assessment of public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol.

Following the 2005 World Health Assembly resolution on public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol, the WHO Secretariat has started the consultation process with main stakeholders and organized several meetings and consultations with civil society groups, scientists and representatives of the industry, trade and agricultural sector.

The meeting was another step in this consultation process. The objectives of the meeting were to give the different stakeholders an opportunity to present to the WHO Secretariat their views on patterns of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and its causes, and effective interventions to reduce harmful use of alcohol.

WHO, as a technical agency, develops its recommendations for effective policies and interventions relating to alcohol on the basis of available scientific evidence. It takes advice from its technical advisory bodies, such as expert committees, and also takes into consideration relevant results of consultations with different stakeholders.

The harmful use of alcohol has now become one of the most important risks to health: it ranks third in developed countries as a risk factor, and is the leading risk factor in developing countries with low mortality rates. Global alcohol consumption has increased in recent decades, most or all of the increase occurring in developing countries. Worldwide use of alcohol is estimated to have caused 3.2% of all deaths, and 4% of the burden of disease (World Health Report 2002).

Share