Reducing harm caused by alcohol

International policy

Global alcohol policy

Globally, the harmful use of alcohol causes around 3.3 million deaths every year (5.9% of all deaths).

Alcohol use is the 5th leading risk factor for disease, injury and disability. In eastern Europe, most of Latin America and southern sub-Saharan Africa, it is the leading cause.

Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol was adopted in 2010 at the World Health Assembly. The strategy focuses on 10 areas for national action:

  • leadership, awareness and commitment
  • health services' response
  • community action
  • drink-driving policies and countermeasures
  • availability of alcohol
  • marketing of alcoholic beverages
  • pricing policies
  • reducing the negative consequences of drinking and alcohol intoxication
  • reducing the public health impact of illicit alcohol and informally produced alcohol
  • monitoring and surveillance

European alcohol policy

At European level, the European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012-2020 was endorsed by 53 Member States in 2011, but there is a need for a more comprehensive strategy to tackle alcohol harm across Europe.

Global Alcohol Policy Conference 2015

Alcohol Focus Scotland co-hosted the Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPC) which was held in Edinburgh from 7-9 October 2015. The event brought together over 400 participants from 60 countries to discuss evidence-based actions to reduce alcohol harm worldwide. 

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon opened the conference - read her speech

Read the GAPC 2015 declaration (PDF)

Alcohol Focus Scotland produced a film for the conference, Alcohol: a global concern