Alcohol issue a priority in the Swedish EU presidency

STOCKHOLM The Swedish Government intends to give priority to the alcohol issue during it´s EU presidency. Advertising, young people and alcohol, harmful drinking and elderly consumption are some themes during top conferences next autumn.

An informal health conference will be held in July in Jönköping, and 21-22st of September a European expert conference on alcohol and health will be held in Stockholm. And the follwing day a global meeting of experts, including WHO, will discuss how alcohol is an obstacle to development and social dimensions related to HIV contamination.

– We also want to engage and involve the NGO organizations in the Presidency. All the pieces needed to give the whole picture of a society that is working to reduce injuries, said Secretary of State Ragnwi Marcelind (Christ Democratic party) at an information meeting at Rosenbad.

Around 58 million Europeans are drinking with high risk. Europe has the highest alcohol consumption in the world and alcohol is the third largest risk factor for early death. This is something that particularly affects young people between the ages of 15-29 years, where alcohol death strikes hardest.
Moreover 10 000 people die each year in alcohol-related traffic accidents in Europe.

The development is complex, but the EU appears now more serious on alcohol. Age limits for purchase of alcohol has risen; minimum prices are discussed and lowered BAC limits in traffic has been implemented in several countries.

– We want to show that a restrictive alcohol policy works. At the conferences we want to discuss the risk utility projects, to tell that the alcohol retail monopoly has a very broad support in Sweden and we want to raise our serious concerns about how cheap alcohol are flooding into uncontrolled across borders, says mrs Marcelind to Drugnews.