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Mongan, Deirdre (2011) Standardising drinking survey methodologies. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 39, Autumn 2011, p. 4.

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Although population surveys which focus on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm are regularly conducted in most European countries, comparison of results across countries is difficult due to the lack of standardised methodologies. The SMART (Standardising Measurement of Alcohol-Related Troubles) project team was established to develop a standardised comparative survey methodology on alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems and public support for policy measures. Ten European countries, including Ireland, were involved in developing these guidelines.1 

Following a literature review on methodologies of alcohol surveys and a number of expert meetings, a survey protocol for a comparative drinking survey was designed, which was then piloted in the participating countries. 
The proposed questionnaire had a number of core sections, each with guidelines for its implementation. It is estimated that an interview based on these core questions should not last longer than 10–15 minutes, especially if CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) is used.
1.     Alcohol consumption: frequency, beverage-specific quantity and frequency, and context of drinking;
2.     Risky single-occasion drinking and drunkenness;
3.     Adverse consequences of own alcohol use;
4.     Rapid alcohol problem screen;
5.     Unrecorded alcohol supply;
6.     Harm from others; and
7.     Attitudes towards alcohol policy.
The results of the pilot study demonstrated that comparative alcohol surveys are feasible across Europe despite the existence of different drinking cultures, various political traditions and economic inequalities. While there is a need to confirm the results of the pilot test in larger, random samples of inhabitants of different European countries, ‘it is expected that better use of standardized approaches across Europe will lead to more informed and evidence based policy making to reduce alcohol’s health and economic burden’.
1.         Moskalewicz J and Sieroslawski J (2010) Drinking population surveys: guidance document for standardized approach. Warsaw: Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/15682/

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