Effective strategies for reducing the harmful use of alcohol

Contribution to WHO consultation

In a response brief to a World Health Organization (WHO) consultation, Éduc’alcool maintained that prevention and education, in conjunction with other measures, made a significant difference in reducing the harmful use of alcohol in society.

1. Opinions on effective strategies for reducing the harmful use of alcohol

The most effective strategies exhibit the following characteristics:

  • They have clearly defined socio-cultural objectives and all activities work towards achieving them;
  • They are designed with the long term in mind;
  • Their impact is measured on the target group as well as on the population as a whole;
  • They take cultural realities and social behaviour into account;
  • They trust in people’s capacity to make choices.

2. How our contribution can help reduce the harmful use of alcohol

When we say that a society’s relationship to alcohol is primarily a cultural affair, we do not pretend to have the solution to all the problems, or a universal panacea.

In today’s Quebec, there are people who struggle with alcohol abuse and dependence, but overall, Quebecers have a fairly healthy relationship to alcohol, and our model is more focused on moderate drinking.

While one cannot draw a direct causal link between these results and our activities, given the consistency of the statistics, it would appear that our widespread presence in Quebec serves as a constant reminder about moderate drinking. It is part of a whole constellation of measures, including other preventive strategies—including taxation, a minimum age for alcohol purchase, controlled availability of alcohol, and impaired driving laws—which keep the situation improving in Quebec.

Éduc’alcool programs are “exported” around the world to five continents. They can be modified for local cultures, because their foundations are universal. They can be made available to anyone interested in adapting them.

People’s relationship to alcohol is primarily a cultural affair, and cultures are influenced and shaped by the prevailing social norms. Éduc’alcool’s many preventive and educational activities, which have a remarkable reach and impact, are constant, varied, sometimes funny, sometimes instructive reminders that alcohol is not a product like any other, and it should be used moderately. Éduc’alcool is an active partner in Canada’s National Alcohol Strategy, whose subtitle, “toward a culture of moderation,” is based on the Éduc’alcool slogan.

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