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Newsletter #5 - A Recap Of The Week!

Friday 28th November 2014


As the second European Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm draws to a close we revisit some of the themes and discussions which took place during AWARH14.

The EU is the highest-drinking region in the world, with alcohol-related costs amounting to €155.8 billion every year, of which €74 billion is a result of annual productivity losses. Alcohol is linked to more than 60 diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular, liver and digestive diseases, pre-natal harm and brain diseases such as alcohol dependence and depression.

The Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm (AWARH) was initiated in 2013 by a group of like-minded organisations following three Roundtable meetings on an integrated approach to alcohol-related harm.

During the roundtable meetings, the organisations agreed that an EU-level awareness raising campaign should be established to provide information on the detrimental effects associated with alcohol consumption.

 
"Lundbeck is proud to be a founding partner of AWARH. Worldwide, one person dies every 10 seconds due to harmful use of alcohol. Diagnosis and treatment rates remain extremely low, especially compared to other chronic diseases. We believe that only by working together will we be able to effectively support patients and their families affected by alcohol dependence, evolve treatment pathways and fight the stigma that still lingers in our societies."
Christoph von der Goltz, Senior Director for
Medical Affairs on alcohol dependence

 
The first AWARH was held on the week of 13th May 2013 under the Month of the Brain. Many policymakers and healthcare organisations joined to the Awareness Week on Alcohol-Related Harm (AWARH) to highlight the negative effects of alcohol and call for greater policy action to address the problems it can cause, through improvements in:
 
Prevention • Education • Screening • Treatment and adequate services

The ultimate aim is to highlight the need to tackle the significant barriers to a compre-hensive and cost-effective policy intervention.

For more information on the history of the week as well as to download the different campaign materials visit www.awarh.eu

Day 1: Evidence Based Research

The EU and its Member States should increase investment in research on the impact of harmful alcohol consumption on health as the cornerstone of an evidence-based alcohol policy.

Stronger policies, and additional research, are needed in order to deal with the ever increasing damage, both in terms of health and socio-economics, caused by harmful alcohol consumption.

An integrated and comprehensive approach to alcohol policy interventions rests on sound evidence. Data on alcohol consumption, its burden and the related direct and indirect costs across the EU must therefore be improved.

 
Watch the AWARH'14 Video


Day 2: Support for an integrated approach to address the burden of alcohol-related harm

A breakfast meeting was held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and hosted by MEPs Nessa Childers (S&D) and Cristian-Silviu Bușoi (EPP). The meeting, held within context of the AWARH and under the theme of “The EU Alcohol Strategy: Act Now!” gathered together a number of speakers, including the European Commissioner for Health, Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, and representatives from the WHO and national governments.

At the meeting Commissioner Andriukaitis said "In Europe Alcohol related harm adds up to a major burden on society in terms of suffering, healthcare costs and cost related to absenteeism at work and lower productivity”. He added, "When it comes to addressing alcohol related harm, often, a one-size fits all approach is not a valid answer. We need to join up, adapt and coordinate our efforts. Member States, civil society, international organisations and the EU institutions all have an important role to play."
 


Day 3: The Social Impact of Alcohol

The patients’ role in healthcare has changed over the years from being passive recipients to becoming active and responsible actors in their own health management. Reliable, accurate and comprehensive information for patients, their families and carers is crucial. 
Patients and caregivers should be actively involved in the planning of research approaches, execution of services and maintenance of standards of healthcare practice. Efficient implementation of “eHealth” solutions can help create a health sector that is more safe and friendly for patients and caregivers.
It is the human right of all people affected by illness to share as fully as they can in the opportunities, enjoyments and responsibilities of everyday living.
 

Day 4: 6th Annual European Alcohol Conference: Prevention Policies to Limit Alcohol Related Harm

Minimum pricing has been favoured by health advocates as an effective strategy to address the growing health crisis that has resulted from the increased affordability of alcoholic beverages in some countries where supermarkets and shops are using cut price alcohol to attract customers.

Labelling/Consumer protection: provision of comprehensive information - Alcohol producers should provide information not only on ingredients, but also about the risks associated with alcohol consumption: damages to health (liver cirrhosis, cancers) risk of dependence, dangers associated with drinking alcohol during pregnancy, when driving, operating machinery and when taking certain medication.

Labelling should be part of a comprehensive strategy to provide information and educate consumers about alcohol and should be part of integrated policies and programmes to reduce the harm done by alcohol.  

Day 5:  Closed meeting for Health Attaches hosted by the Latvian Permanent Representation. 

The meeting was extremely well attended and following presentations by WHO, the Commission and AWARH partner Eurocare there was a lively discussion on the topic.  We very much look forward to the work that will take place during the Latvian Presidency of the EU.
 
If you haven’t already done so please sign the pledge at www.awarh.eu


The Secretariat for the Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm 2014 is held by ELPA.

Copyright © 2014 AWARH c/o Eurocare


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