The final conference of the Joint Action on reducing alcohol related harm (RARHA) takes place on October 13-14 in Lisbon, Portugal. The insights from the working groups have a strong accent on Member States’ cooperation and knowledge sharing. They span a wide range of topics on reducing alcohol related harm and consider future challenges and impact on public health policy in Europe.
RARHA’s achievements will be presented by the expert leaders of the working groups and discussed by international well-known professionals on public health, education and policy making. The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, and Adalberto Campos Fernandes, Portuguese Minister of Health, will attend the conference. The full agenda is available at: www.rarha.eu.
Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis said: “I commend the progress made by all the Member States and stakeholders in this Joint Action. The survey they carried out shows that half of our citizens support strong measures to address alcohol-related harm such as high prices, restrictions on the number of outlets, and on selling time and advertising bans. I invite all Member States to build on this and implement measures to tackle alcohol-related harm under a wide range of policies. I believe this Joint Action is a good example of how the European Commission can help Member States address alcohol abuse and I remain committed to continue supporting Member States in this regard.”
The results produced by RARHA provide new knowledge and tools in three areas:
1. Monitoring of drinking patterns and alcohol related harm
The aim was to provide a baseline for comparative assessment and monitoring alcohol epidemiology, including drinking levels and patterns and alcohol related harms across the EU. In addition, this work strengthened capacity in comparative alcohol survey methodology and increased interest in using common methodology in the future.
2. Low risk drinking guidelines and a common criterion for low risk
Based on the view that European citizens have the right to be informed about risks related to the alcohol consumption, the aim in this working group was to define low risk guidelines as a public health measure. Taking as the starting point current variation in national guidelines, the partners in this work explored the possibility to widen common ground in order to contribute towards more aligned messages to the population and health professionals.
3. Finding good practice examples across Europe and building a tool kit to reduce alcohol related harm
The aim of this area is to contribute to the implementation of the EU strategy in Member States by exchanging concrete examples of good practice approaches that are implemented. To this end, partners defined good practice criteria, compiled and disseminated the accepted interventions in a Good Practice Tool Kit, which is available here.
Further information for editors:
RARHA is a Member State initiative coming from the joint work between European Commission and the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA). The Joint Action is composed of 32 Associated Partners and 29 Collaborating Partners, including WHO/Europe, EMCDDA, OECD/ Health Division and the Pompidou Group. The minimum co-funding required from Member States in Joint Actions is 50% but for RARHA national funding amounted to 54% of a total of € 3.3 million. This also reflects the importance given to the initiative by the participating countries.
Alcohol continues to be the third leading cause globally for disease and premature death. In the EU, the direct costs through healthcare.