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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reflections on science and the governance of alcohol policy

To consider, briefly, science's role in informing alcohol policy, and how science could help reframe the present governance of alcohol policy.
Expression of the two project coordinators’ reflections based on discussions during project meetings of the Alcohol Measures for Public Health Research Alliance (AMPHORA) project.
Three endeavours are considered important for science's role in informing alcohol policy: modelling studies that help predict the outcomes of differing policy approaches; studying the impact of live policy changes as a powerful set of natural experiments; and, improved study of the impact of integrated, coordinated and joined up alcohol policies, as opposed to the impact of individual alcohol policy measures.

Three areas where science can contribute to strengthened alcohol policy governance include: analysis of different governance architectures that might promote joined-up actions between different sectors; the design of better metrics that measure the impact of public and private sector actions on health; and, by identifying incentives that help consumers make choices on the use of alcohol that improve health.
The impact of science on better alcohol policy governance can only happen if there is more and better dialogue between scientists and those who design alcohol policy.

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