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Alcohol Res Health. 2011;34(2):246-7.

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) and policy research At NIAAA.

Author information

1
Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, National Insititute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Rockville, Maryland.

Abstract

Public policies have the potential to prevent the adverse consequences of alcohol consumption on a larger scale than any other category of interventions. However, measuring the effects of specific policies on alcohol-related behaviors and health outcomes is difficult and presents a variety of daunting challenges. One important challenge stems from the nonexperimental nature of most policy research, which makes it difficult to distinguish between causal relationships and noncausal associations. Another key challenge arises from the complexity of alcohol-related behaviors and outcomes and the wide range of potential effects that specific policy interventions may have on different groups and actors in various contexts. A third important challenge involves the difficulty in accurately characterizing the policies to be studied, which can be attributed largely to the arcane legal framework of statutes and regulations in which policies are created. This challenge is magnified by the enormous variety of alcohol-related public policies that have been adopted at all levels of government and the myriad variations in specific provisions that are embedded in the laws and regulations. Valid analysis of policy effects depends on surmounting all of these challenges and accurately characterizing policies and discerning the true causal effects of those policies on well-specified outcomes of interest.

PMID:
22330224
PMCID:
PMC3860562
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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