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Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm (Council conclusions - 2001)
Alcohol is one of the key health determinants in the European Union (EU). Excessive consumption of alcohol causes serious health and social problems which are affecting an increasingly large number of people. That is why the Council is calling for the development of a comprehensive Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm.
Council Conclusions of 5 June 2001 on a Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm [Official Journal C 175 of 20.06.2001].
Scientific studies have clearly shown that alcohol consumption substantially increases the risk of all-cause mortality (liver cirrhosis, alcoholism, haemorrhagic stroke, foetal alcohol syndrome, etc.) and the level of alcohol-related morbidity in general.
Alcohol is also a major contributory factor in fatal road accidents and the direct cause of many accidents both in workplaces and at home.
Moreover, there is a close link between alcohol abuse and a large number of worrying social phenomena, such as marginalisation and social exclusion, domestic violence and disruption of the family unit, criminality, homelessness and mental disorders.
Increase in consumption
It has been shown that regular alcohol consumption is increasing, as is binge drinking among young people in some Member States. This is all the more cause for concern as there are strong links between an early start with regard to heavy alcohol consumption, substance abuse and criminality.
Framework for action
These Council Conclusions are in keeping with more wide-ranging initiatives launched at European level, namely:
- the Community Health Strategy drawn up in 2000, which provides for, inter alia, the preparation and implementation of measures regarding lifestyle-related health determinants, such as alcohol;
- the EU Drugs Strategy (2000-2004), which emphasises the need for measures addressing any form of addiction, including alcohol and tobacco consumption.
Lines of action and priorities of the future Community strategy
The Council calls for the development of a Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm. This strategy would comprise in particular the following elements:
- continued collection of comparative and comprehensive information and creation of an effective monitoring system on alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and policy measures and their effects in the EU;
- development of a range of coordinated Community activities in all relevant policy areas;
- ensuring a high level of health protection in the definition and implementation of Community activities in fields such as research, consumer protection, transport, advertising, marketing, sponsorship and excise duties;
- strengthened cooperation and exchange of knowledge between Member States;
- international cooperation, in particular with the World Health Organisation.
The Commission is invited to put forward proposals for this comprehensive Community strategy, taking account of the above elements.
Further information can be found on the European Commission's Public health website