Home > Harm to others from drinking: patterns in nine societies.

Laslett, Anne-Marie and Room, Robin and Waleewong, Orratai and Stanesby, Oliver and Callinan, Sarah, eds. (2019) Harm to others from drinking: patterns in nine societies. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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Documenting and developing the approaches to reduce alcohol’s harm to others is an important area highlighted in the WHO strategy. This joint program of research between WHO, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) and collaborating investigators in nine high, middle- and low-income countries, sets out to study the magnitude and scope of alcohol’s harm to others in general populations and how it is encountered and dealt with in response agencies like the police, hospitals, social welfare offices and women’s shelters and support centers.

This book draws together the results of national surveys in Thailand, Chile, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. It describes and compares harms from others’ drinking cross-nationally and focuses on different aspects of alcohol’s harm to others in each country, for instance, the effects of coworkers’ drinking in Lao People’s Democratic Republic and harms to children from adults’ drinking in Vietnam. While drinkers with alcohol use disorders also need services and support to reduce the social harms and health problems they experience, this book adds weight to the need for policies that protect those affected by others’ drinking and services that assist them. It further strengthens WHO’s arguments for policies that increase the price of alcohol and limit the availability and promotion of alcohol, such as in WHO’s SAFER initiative - the newest WHO-led roadmap to support governments in taking practical steps to improve health and well-being through addressing the harmful use of alcohol. The magnitude and range of the effects underline the outcomes of inaction and indicate why substantial attention is needed to accelerate progress towards the WHO Sustainable Development Goals.

This book highlights the social burden and human costs of harmful use of alcohol to others than drinkers in nine societies. I recommend this book, not only to those responsible for health and social policies of the societies where the study was implemented, but to public health leaders and policy makers worldwide. It also deserves the attention of governmental agencies dealing with alcohol-related problems, the research community, non-governmental organizations, the media and the general public.

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