No Half Measures: Revitalising Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategies in Europe

The Silken Berlaymont Hotel, Brussels
Tuesday 18th October 2011

Alcohol consumption is a growing public health and social concern in the EU. Europe has the highest proportion of drinkers in the world, the highest levels of alcohol consumption per capita and a high level of alcohol-related harm. Indeed, latest statistics show that 7.4% of all ill-health and early death in the EU is caused by harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption.

Whilst it must be acknowledged that alcohol is a significant economic commodity and also represents a cultural value in many regions, it is clear that there are many serious health issues attached. Furthermore, harmful and hazardous consumption has a broader social impact such as violence, family problems, crime, social exclusion and low productivity at work.

In order to confront these issues, it is vital to implement effective alcohol related policies at all levels. Five years have passed since the European Commission adopted a milestone for reducing alcohol related harm with a key Communication setting out a strategy to support Member States and establishing an Alcohol and Health Forum. The dissemination of good practices has helped to demonstrate the positive steps that have been made but it is clear, however, that there is still much to be done.

This timely International Symposium seeks to harness actions which have been put in place to reduce alcohol-related harm and share good practices, as well as identify gaps where further progress can be made. In order to face up to this public health ‚time-bomb‘, as well as redoubling efforts to raise general public awareness, the European Union is seeking to work closer together with stakeholders to synergise EU policy with the national health policies implemented by Member States. The symposium will examine the latest initiatives at both EU and national level, discuss the range of alcohol-focused projects and consider recommendations for future actions to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol misuse.

Public Policy Exchange welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.