Local action to prevent alcohol problems: Is the UK Community Alcohol Prevention Programme the best solution?

W Mistral, R Velleman, L Templeton, C Mastache

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17 Citations (SciVal)


Increasing evidence indicates that the UK has a serious alcohol problem. This crosses many patterns of drinking and all ages, whereas the public debate about alcohol tends to focus almost exclusively on binge drinking and on young people's alcohol-related anti-social behaviour. This paper addresses the interventions and policy developments currently implemented in the UK to reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour. There are two main approaches: a national (England) change in the licensing laws; and local harm reduction projects seeking to effect change independently of central Government initiatives. This paper describes the critique currently mounted against the expected efficacy of new licensing laws and describes the theoretical and practical developments of some local prevention initiatives that are part of the United Kingdom Alcohol Prevention Programme (UKCAPP), funded by the Alcohol Education and Research Council (AERC). Although it is too early to draw conclusions as to the effects of either of these developments, initial reports suggest that changes in the licensing regime have not yet created the increase in alcohol-related problems some commentators have argued would occur; and the local prevention initiatives have led to the formation of extremely strong community partnerships, with a range of innovative and integrated actions to tackle alcohol-related anti-social behaviour. Fundamental criticisms of both the new licensing laws and the National Alcohol Strategy remain, however. Even if the above interventions lead to reductions in alcohol-related anti-social behaviour, it is not clear how they might deal with the rising levels of alcohol-related health harms reported within the UK. Nevertheless, the community partnership approach may be the best possibility for dealing with at least some of the alcohol-related problems caused by the rise in availability and accessibility of alcohol within the UK. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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