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28/10/2011

The Alcohol Policy Network in Europe (APN) met in Poznan, October 10

Alcohol policy making in Europe

The Alcohol Policy Network in Europe (APN) organized its meeting this year in conjunction with the Medusa Experts Conference (part of Poland’s EU Presidency Program) in Poznan, Poland 10 October 2011.

APN emerged out of 2 EC sponsored Europe wide research Projects Bridging the Gap and Building Capacity. The network has currently some 100 members working in the field of alcohol policy making in governmental offices or in non-governmental agencies throughout Europe.

There was a number of very high quality presentations on current dominant themes such as local community action, pricing and young people with keynotes presented by Sven Adreasson, Ann Hope and Evelyn Gillan.

“Communities can be stimulated to develop alcohol prevention – but most health promotion programs in use have little impact on harm,” said Sven Andreasson, professor of the National Institute of Public Health in Stockholm. “Policies that reduce the availability of alcohol on the other hand are effective but require active advocacy efforts.”

There were also updates and a discussion on recent developments concerning alcohol policy in the EC and in WHO by Giuliano Gallo and Lars Moeller as well as a review of the actual situation in Poland. An exciting open debate took place on the future of European alcohol policy making. A special interest session on local alcohol policy making concluded the day.

The meeting took place at a time which is critical for alcohol policy making at European level: the EU strategy is coming to an end soon and WHO’s new alcohol action plan is at its very beginning after the Member States agreed at their meeting a couple of weeks ago in Baku.

With this meeting APN proved again to be an extremely valuable resource for anyone with an interest in public health oriented alcohol policy making serving as a European platform for exchange, delivering top presentations and providing an opportunity for high quality debate. APN also announced its membership of the NCD Alliance.

Membership of APN is free of charge; the only admission criteria are a proven genuine interest in developing public health oriented alcohol policies and no interest or association with the alcohol industry in its widest sense. Fur further information and membership application: www.alcoholpolicynetwork.eu