driving countermeasures is an obvious element to include in an overall preventative strategy, but it should not be taken for granted, especially given the powerful cultural forces surrounding alcohol in Australia that could undermine, stall or, worse still, reverse the gains made in preventing and reducing alcohol-related road injuries and fatalities. Brief interventions are known to be one of the most effective preventative measures and more work is needed to examine the most appropriate setting for such an approach. Along with the usual health settings considered, workplaces provide a window of opportunity for reaching thousands of Australians at the early stages of problematic drinking. This also opens an opportunity for novel partnerships. The success of prevention in other areas of public health, such as tobacco control, tells us that social marketing is a key element that is necessary to inform target audiences, shift attitudes and positively reinforce behaviour changes being driven by other complementary measures, such as restrictions on availability, regulation and enforcement. 5.5 Priorities The intent of this paper has been to provide background information about alcohol-related harm in Australia, and summarise international best practice in alcohol-prevention policies and programs, rather than to articulate a particular course of action. However, some priorities for preventative policies and programs, and for research, are most important and most urgent, and should be singled out, because they represent a gap in current practice or knowledge in Australia or because they would enhance and/or inform existing and new practices. In the first instance, the major imperatives for Australia are to: 1. Reshape consumer demand towards safer drinking through: • Managing both the physical availability (access) and economic availability (price). The high accessibility of alcohol – in terms of outlet opening hours, density of alcohol outlets and discounting of alcohol products – is an issue in many Australian communities. • Addressing the cultural place of alcohol. Carefully planned, targeted and research-based social marketing and public education are required, and will be more effective if the marketing of alcoholic beverages is restricted, including curbing advertising and sponsorship of cultural and sporting events. 2. Reshape supply towards lower-risk products through: • Changes to the current taxation regime to stimulate the production and consumption of low- alcohol products. • Improved enforcement of current legislative and regulatory measures (such as Responsible Serving of Alcohol or bans on serving intoxicated persons and minors, or continuing to lower the blood alcohol content in drink-driving laws).
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- Fall '09