Home > Enforcing regulations on alcohol sales and use as universal environmental prevention.

Villalbí, Joan R and Bartroli, Montserrat and Bosque-Prous, Marina and Guitart, Anna M and Serra-Batiste, Enric and Casas, Conrad and Brugal, M Teresa (2015) Enforcing regulations on alcohol sales and use as universal environmental prevention. Adicciones, 27, (4), pp. 288-293.

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The informal social control over alcohol consumption that was traditional in Southern European countries has weakened. At the same time there is an increase in binge drinking and drunkenness among young people in Spain. To mitigate this problem, regulations on alcohol and driving and restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol have been adopted. This paper documents the current regulations in the city of Barcelona and describes efforts to enforce them and their outcomes. Data from the municipal information systems on infringements reported for the period 2008-13 are provided. There is an increasing pressure of municipal services to enforce the rules in two areas: a) alcohol sales at night (retailers); and b) consumption in the public space (citizens).

An increase in the controls of drink-driving has also taken place, and the proportion above legal limits has decreased. The largest relative increase occurred in the control of retailers. In Barcelona interventions are made to limit the supply and consumption of alcohol at low cost and during the night, and of driving under the influence of alcohol. There have been no documented episodes of massive drinking in public spaces (known as 'botellón') in the city. These actions, which complement other preventive efforts based on health education, can change the social perceptions of alcohol by minors in a direction less favorable to consumption, promoting environmental prevention.

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