Alcohol Healthwatch welcomes the World Medical Association (WMA) proposals to reduce the global impact of alcohol-related harm and the New Zealand Medical Association’s (NZMA) support of this. Director Rebecca Williams says that it reflects their recognition of the impact of alcohol on individuals and communities, particularly on youth. This burden is close to that of tobacco related illness and disease. She notes that much alcohol-related harm goes unmeasured so it could be even higher than the current four percent of the global burden of disease.
Williams is delighted that the WMA statement calls for strong measures to combat alcohol issues and that the NZMA endorse these. “We are very encouraged by how closely their proposal aligns with our Action on Liquor campaign objectives,” she says.
The minimum purchase age, restricting hours or days of sale and the number of outlets, increasing taxes and restricting advertising are just some of the measures put forward and these certainly reflect the evidence-base for effectiveness, adds Williams.
The WMA proposals come not long after the World Health Organisation adopted a resolution making a stronger commitment to reduce alcohol-related harm.
New Zealand will soon be updating its National Drug Policy and associated alcohol action plan and Williams suggests that this global and local support must certainly set the scene for doing what works here in New Zealand.
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Action on Liquor Campaign information and briefing papers (including one on amendments to the Sale of Liquor Act) can be found at http://www.ahw.org.nz/page.php?92