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National alcohol policy after “alcopops”: what next?

Steven J Skov, on behalf of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Alcohol Advisory Group.*
Med J Aust 2009; 190 (12): 662-663.
Published online: 15 June 2009

Reintroducing the alcopops tax is important, but more comprehensive reform of alcohol taxation and other broader measures are needed

To those Australians who believe that alcohol consumption in this country is causing too much damage, and that a public health-focused, evidence-based alcohol policy can make a difference, the defeat of the “alcopops” legislation in the Senate in March this year was a disappointment. However, this is no reason to stop national action to reduce damage from alcohol. The thousands of Australians whose lives are damaged by alcohol, and the hundreds each year whose deaths could be prevented, are too important.1 Concerned organisations need to collaborate and advocate for a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to reducing the alcohol toll. Their ultimate goal should be to move to a more moderate and responsible drinking culture in Australia.

  • Steven J Skov
  • on behalf of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Alcohol Advisory Group.*

  • Centre for Disease Control, Department of Health and Community Services, Darwin, NT.

Correspondence: steven.skov@nt.gov.au

Acknowledgements: 

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians Alcohol Advisory Group is indebted to Mike Daube (Public Health Association of Australia, Perth), Geoff Munro (Australian Drug Foundation, Melbourne) and Tanya Chikritzhs (National Drug Research Institute, Perth) for their helpful comments on drafts of this editorial.

* Contributing members of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Alcohol Advisory Group
Paul S Haber (University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW)
Alex D Wodak (St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW)
Bruce K Armstrong (University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW)
Katherine M Conigrave (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW)
George L Rubin (Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Sydney, NSW)
Nick M Walsh (Monash University, Melbourne, Vic)
Jenny Proimos (Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Vic)
Nicholas Lintzeris (University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW)
Geoffrey L Metz (Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Sydney, NSW)

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