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Global action demanded on alcohol misuse

Friday September 16th, 2011

A leading group of doctors is demanding worldwide action on alcohol abuse, claiming there has been "a lamentable lack of any global remediable action".

Ahead of the UN Summit on Non-communicable Diseases, which takes place in New York, September 20-22, 2011, the 17 senior doctors, including Professor Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians of London, have issued a consensus statement that calls on doctors to take the lead on tackling alcohol misuse.

"Evidence-based cost-effective interventions reduce harm from alcohol, but advocacy for an alcohol policy is not politically attractive,” it says.

“The conflict between government-driven health policy and commercial or social governmental influences impedes the progress of any national or international policy.

“There is, therefore, an urgent need to put pressure on governments to recognise, adopt, and scale up appropriate health policies.”

The statement, which is published Online First in The Lancet, says doctors should take a lead in tackling the problem.

“It is every clinician's responsibility to address alcohol harm, both on a daily basis with individual patients and in the wider context of health harms and inequalities at the population level,” it goes on.

“The voice of doctors is valued and trusted within societies, and therefore we call on all doctors to show effective leadership by holding ministries of health accountable for their lack of action in the face of such robust evidence."

"We ask governments to act urgently and to champion evidence-based initiatives for the implementation of effective alcohol strategies at all levels to improve the health of populations worldwide."

The Lancet September 15 2011

Tags: Drug and Alcohol Abuse | UK News | World Health

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