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ALAC On Right Path

ALAC On Right Path
JANUARY 21 2005

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) focus on excessive per occasion alcohol consumption validates similar moves already underway in New Zealand, says the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC).

This week the WHO agreed to launch a study into ways to counter alcohol abuse. Although overall consumption appeared to be falling in some industrialised states, the organisation says more people were "drinking to excess" and alcohol use by young people was rising around the world.

“This move gives us added reassurance that the direction we are heading in this country is the right way to go,” says ALAC Deputy Chief Executive Officer Paula Snowden.

“ALAC has been working on a major programme to tackle excessive per occasion consumption,” she says. “The multi-faceted programme which has intersectoral and government backing includes a marketing component aimed at changing New Zealanders’ acceptance of intoxication.

“Much work on the sale and supply to minors and serving of intoxicated people is already underway. However, addressing the adult drinking culture is the next step.”

The WHO report drew attention to the huge health and social costs of alcohol abuse, which killed 1.8 million people worldwide in 2000, the last year for which figures were available.

ALAC has recently funded a study into the burden of death, disease and disability attributable to alcohol consumption in New Zealand. Information from the study will be released at seminars in Wellington and Christchurch in early February. Preliminary results from the study show that two thirds of the alcohol consumed in New Zealand is drunk in situations where there is a risk of acute or chronic harm.

Ms Snowden says the WHO report also called for talks with the drinks industry on measures to limit alcohol abuse.

“Here in New Zealand we are already talking to the alcohol and hospitality industries. We work with everyone who is involved in the business. How could you not talk to the people who produce or sell the product?”


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