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J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Jan;28(1):3-7. doi: 10.1177/0269881113512038.

Doing it by numbers: a simple approach to reducing the harms of alcohol.

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1Imperial College London, London, UK.


Alcohol use is one of the top five causes of disease and disability in almost all countries in Europe, and in the eastern part of Europe it is the number one cause. In the UK, alcohol is now the leading cause of death in men between the ages of 16-54 years, accounting for over 20% of the total. Europeans above 15 years of age in the EU on average consume alcohol at a level which is twice as high as the world average. Alcohol should therefore be a public health priority, but it is not. This paper puts forward a new approach to reduce alcohol use and harms that would have major public health and social impacts. Our approach comprises individual behaviour and policy elements. It is based on the assumption that heavy drinking is key. It is simple, so it would be easy to introduce, and because it lacks stigmatising issues such as the diagnosis of addiction and dependence, it should not be contentious.


Alcohol; evidence-based approach; harm reduction; numeric approach; public health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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