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Worldwide Alcohol Use and Canadian Policy

June 30, 2015

OPHA Alcohol Prevention Workgroup – In May 2015, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use: Economics and Public Health Policy.   This report recognizes the social role of alcohol in our communities, the use of alcohol to intoxicate throughout history, as well as its harmful effects.

Alcohol is a contributing factor in over 60 different diseases and health risks.  The report underlines that alcohol accounts for 1 in 17 deaths worldwide in addition to numerous disabilities.  Alcohol also contributes to the GDP of many nations.  It is within this context that OPHA works with partners to influence policy, ultimately looking to change social norms around alcohol consumption and decrease health and community risks.

The OECD Insights blog Women and Children first – tackling harmful drinking illustrates the emotional separation between health consequences and norms of social drinking.  It highlights the increase in middle class women drinking wine regularly and the ongoing influence of sugary, candy flavored alcopops to increase the palatability of alcohol, especially for young drinkers.

Alcohol has saturated the fabric of our culture and both the private sector and governments are looking to increase access and availability for economic gain. Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use highlights who is drinking, the risky nature of that drinking and policy options for decreasing alcohol related harms. 
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