IAS has joined forces with NGOs from across Europe today to call on European governments and the European Commission to develop a strategy for the European Union before the current initiative ends next year.

On the 17th November, Member State representatives will attend a critical meeting of the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action, as the future of the EU Alcohol Strategy remains undecided. Ahead of this meeting, IAS has joined 68 health and social NGOs in signing a call for a new Alcohol Policy Strategy in the European Union for the period 2013-2020.

The European Union recently made firm commitments to tackle Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at the UN Summit on NCDs in September and a specific commitment to work on the main determinants of health.  Alcohol is a health determinant like no other; it is the second most avoidable health risk after tobacco and the world’s number one risk factor for ill-health and premature death amongst the 25-59 year old age group, a core of the working age population. Europe is the heaviest drinking region of the world.

Consumption levels in some European countries are around 2.5 times higher than the global average. Alarmingly 43% of 15-16 year old European students report heavy binge drinking and alcohol is the single biggest cause of death among young men aged 16 to 24. Alcohol abuse is one of the 4 risk factors for developing NCDs such as cancer (which affects 1 in 3 Europeans) and cardiovascular disease.

To see a copy of the call to action and a list of signatories, click here. (pdf 829kb)