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RAHRA conference: reducing alcohol related harm

On 13 and 14 October 2016 the European Joint Action on reducing alcohol related harm (RARHA) organised its final conference in Lisbon.

RAHRA was created to continue work on key priorities of the EU alcohol strategy. All Member States joined the action, together with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. The Action counts with more than 70 partners, including WHO, ECD health Division and Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe.

 

RARHA’s work on monitoring had had as main objective to provide a comparative assessment and monitoring of alcohol consumption, including drinking levels and alcohol related harms across Europe. In this sense, SEAS – a standardized European Alcohol Survey was put forward in 20 European Countries. As a result a common survey methodology was elaborated and data from surveys from 2008-2012 were gathered for comparative assessments. Over 32.000 interviews were completed. Some of the results of the survey show that:

 

Over 20% of men and over 10% of women in countries represented drink in an hazardous way, at least once a month;

In countries with high alcohol taxes and prices and practically no border control (like in the Nordic countries), travelers’ alcohol imports are a crucial source of unrecorded supply, while in wine-tradition countries major sources of unrecorded supply are domestic wine as well as domestic spirits;

Between 40% to 50% of the people interviewed support alcohol measures such as high prices, restrictions on number outlets, time restrictions and advertising bans. 80% support random breath testing in drivers;

 

Actions:

-          HOTREC members to continue implementing voluntary measures to decrease alcohol related harm at national level, especially focusing on: enforcing age limits when selling and serving alcohol and developing education and information programmes on responsible drinking;

-          HOTREC and HOTREC members to continue implementing Alcohol Forum commitments.

-          HOTREC position:

-          HOTREC welcomes the results of WHO report stating that adolescent alcohol use has decreased in most European and North American countries and regions since the beginning of the 21st century;

-          HOTREC believes on the added value of the Alcohol Forum, as it is a platform to exchange best practices and where the ultimate goal is decreasing alcohol related harm;

-          HOTREC looks forward to the Commission announcement on what will be the next steps with regard to the alcohol policy.