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Addiction. 2007 Sep;102(9):1345-9. Epub 2007 Jul 23.

Reducing alcohol-related damage in populations: rethinking the roles of education and persuasion interventions.

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1
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. norman_giesbrecht@camh.net

Abstract

AIM:

In order to potentially enhance the impact of most effective policies and interventions in reducing the population level damage from alcohol, a new perspective with regard to education and persuasion interventions is offered.

METHODS:

Recent studies were examined on the global burden of alcohol and also those focusing on the links between overall consumption and high-risk drinking, on one hand, and drinking-related damage on the other hand. A synopsis of main findings from reviews and other analysis provides the basis for conclusions about the impacts of education and persuasion interventions.

RESULTS:

There is a relative absence of evidence of the effectiveness of education and persuasion in reducing consumption, curtailing high-risk drinking or reducing damage from alcohol. This is in contrast to the rising levels of damage from alcohol, and also to the demonstrated effectiveness of certain alcohol policies and interventions, as summarized in Babor et al.

CONCLUSIONS:

Given that only a small fraction of education and persuasion interventions have any positive impact, generating 'more of the same' is not an impact-effective and cost-efficient approach. Therefore, interventions that have not been shown to be effective need to be phased out and those most effective and of widest scope should receive more attention and enhanced resources. A reframing of the roles and foci of persuasion interventions is advised, including, for example, focusing on informing policy-makers, and stimulating public discussions about the rationale of alcohol policies and the roles that citizens can play in promoting and supporting these policies.

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