Eleven organizations participated in the launch of a unique Alcohol Manifesto asking minister of health Edith Schippers and state secretary Martin van Rijn to take measures proven to be effective.

New chances for Dutch alcohol policy
“The negative effects of alcohol use could be more effectively prevented than is now the case.  Such possibilities are already in existence.”

This is the core of the message from eleven regional and national Dutch organizations who are daily confronted with the damaging effects of alcohol use. These organizations have signed an alcohol manifesto that is directed to the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare, and Sport, in particular to State Secretary Martin van Rijn.

Health benefits, reduction of social costs, prevention human suffering
With the Alcohol Manifesto, the organizations challenge the national government and local authorities to instigate a series of policies whose effectiveness is undisputed. These measures lead to a large health benefits, reduction in social costs and prevention of human suffering.

The organizations signing the Alcohol Manifesto and therefore making an urgent appeal to the national government, the municipalities and the politics are the following: FAS Foundation of the Netherlands, GGD GHOR Nederland (the Association of Community Health Services and Regional Medical Emergency Preparedness and Planning services), Iriszorg, Jellinek Amsterdam, Lectoraat Verslaving Hogeschool Windesheim, Mondriaan Centrum voor Geestelijke Gezondheid, Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP, Nederlandse Vereniging van Drank- en Horecawet Inspecteurs (NVDI), Novadic-Kentron, Verslavingspreventie Nederland en Victas Centrum voor Verslavingszorg.

A call to governments: take the advice of the World Economic Forum and World Health seriously
In the Alcohol Manifesto, the organizations call on the government to take the policy recommendations of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) seriously and to incorporate them into policy. The core of these recommendations is that increasing the price of alcohol, limiting the number of sales locations and a ban on alcohol should be the foundation of an effective national and local alcohol policy. The policies are affordable, feasible and cost effective.

The costs of alcohol for society could be drastically reduced
Recently the RIVM calculated that alcohol use costs Dutch society a minimum of 2.6 billion euros annually.  Several items could be calculated only with difficulty or not at all, especially costs caused by the excessive drinker to third parties. The authors of the Alcohol Manifesto believe that these costs would be significantly lowered if the government focused efforts on said effective policies.

Positive and negative
The Alcohol Manifesto stresses, among other things, that in recent years major gains have been made in reducing alcohol use among those 16 and younger. Yet we have not yet succeeded in reducing harmful binge drinking (drinking a lot of alcohol per occasion) among adolescents and young adults. This means that large numbers of people are rushed to the emergency department due to alcohol use.

In 2015, 24,000 people were taken to the emergency department due to alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence and self-harm where alcohol was involved. Alcohol also causes many problems with third parties such as domestic violence, sexual violence, traffic accidents and in pregnancy. Concrete and up-to-date figures on these are listed in the Alcohol Manifesto.

Alcohol Manifesto: local differences
The Alcohol Manifesto describes the main trends in current alcohol policy. One of these is developments in local alcohol policy. The signatories of the manifesto believe that the national government has laid too much responsibility for the implementation of the alcohol policy in recent years on the municipalities. A result, great differences have arisen in how alcohol policy has been locally applied. While the age limit of 18 years is maintained well in some municipalities and thus alcohol has become difficult for young people to obtain, enforcement in other municipalities has yet to get off the ground. Signatories also oppose the VNG pilot hybrids retail / hospitality (blurring) that causes alcohol to be available in more places, increasing alcohol problems and further normalizing alcohol consumption. The Alcohol Manifesto underlines the importance of paying special attention to risk groups, including the growing group of older problem drinkers. Furthermore, the Manifesto highlights the success of such programs as ‘I pass,’ in which regular drinkers are challenged to stop using alcohol for a specified period.

Authors of the Alcohol Manifesto:
The manifesto was written by 13 experts at the request of the signatory organizations: Floor van Bakkum MSc, Mr. Dr. Rob Bovens, Ir. Wim van Dalen, Dr. Hans Dupont, Drs. Andrée van Emst, Sandra van Ginneken, Dr. Corrie Hermann, Drs. Roel Kerssemakers, Prof. Dr. Ronald Knibbe, Anja Koornstra MPH, Martijn Planken MSc, Drs. Jaap Toet en Dr. Esther van den Wildenberg.

 1 November 2016


For Verslavingszorg (Addiction health care): Floor van Bakkum MSc (Jellinek): 06 – 42 24 78 74 and Hans Dupont: 06 12 70 42 43 (Centre for Mental Health Mondriaan)
Lectoraat Verslaving Windesheim (Lecturship Addiction Windesheim University of Applied Sciences): Mr. Dr. Rob Bovens: 06 – 22 50 55 45
Nederlands Instituut voor Alcoholbeleid STAP (Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy): Ir. Wim van Dalen: 06 – 53 29 55 44


The Alcoholmanifest [NL] can be downloaded via this link; see also www.alcoholmanifest.nl

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