Preventing Alcohol Harm at an EU Level

A child buying alcohol

On June 27 in the European Parliament, Brussels, the European Alcohol Policy Alliance together with EuroHealthNet, the European Association of Cancer Leagues, and the European Transport Safety Council held an event which highlighted the urgent need to address alcohol related harm at the EU level.

Europe is the world´s heaviest drinking region, with some European countries ranking 2.5 times above the global average.

Alcohol greatly increases the risk of unintentional injuries and fatalities in many areas, including road accidents, drownings, fires, poisonings, and falls, as well as greatly increasing rates of intentional injuries including assault, child abuse, domestic abuse, suicides, and homicides. Alcohol related injuries and fatalities disproportionately affect children and youth.

As shown in the EU Summary Child Safety Report Cards, from the 24 EU countries which have an alcohol policy, only 18 countries have alcohol policies which address injuries to children specifically.

ECSA Director Joanne Vincenten, who presented an intervention at the event, said "results from the child safety report cards show great inconsistency between countries regarding alcohol policy adoption, implementation and enforcement."

Speakers at the event including Eurocare Director Mariann Skarr, European Transport Safety Council Executive Director Antonio Avenoso, EuroHealthNet Director Clive Needle, and MEPs Anna Hedh and Nessa Childers.

Antonio Avenoso of ETSC presented on effective and emerging policy measures in several EU countries which reduce drink driving offenses, including the increasing use of alcohol interlocks for drink driving offenders as well as for commercial and school transport drivers.

EuroCare Director Mariann Skarr presented a target for the reduction of alcohol consumption in the EU from an average of 12.5 litres per person annually to 9 litres by 2020.

At the close of the event a panel discussion was held which focused on effective EU action against harm by alcohol.

Priority strategy areas include:

  • Regulation of marketing
  • Pricing increases
  • Reduced availability
  • Improved consumer labeling
  • Drink driving prevention
  • Raising awareness of dangers of alcohol during pregnancy
  • Safer drinking environments
  • Protection of family and children
  • Prevention with special focus on workplace
  • Treatment and early intervention
  • Better monitoring of data

For more information and facts on harm to children by alcohol in Europe, see our new factsheet: European Child Safety Alliance Factsheet: Harm Done by Alcohol

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