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Alcohol 

Chapter:
Alcohol
Author(s):

Robin Room

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0221
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date: 21 September 2019

This chapter begins with a discussion on alcohol, its uses, and its effects, both positive and negative, followed by a review of the recent research on its cumulative effects on health. The history of alcohol as a public health issue is also briefly reviewed. Although the ‘new public health’ approach gained ground among researchers from the 1970s onwards, it has often been resisted in the policy process. Seven main strategies to prevent or control alcohol problems are described, and their effectiveness briefly assessed. The chapter concludes with a consideration of paths forward in public health action on alcohol policy. At the international level, an international convention on alcohol control or scheduling of alcohol under the drug treaties could counter the influence of trade agreements and the globalization of alcohol production, distribution, and promotion. At national and local levels substantially reducing alcohol-related problems will require political will and coordinated action.

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