UN health agency asks for public suggestions on curbing harmful alcohol use

2 October 2008

With more than two million people dying from alcohol-related causes annually, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a month-long online forum to give a voice to the public on how to curb harmful consumption.

During its World Health Assembly in May, nations asked WHO to create a global strategy to combat destructive alcohol use, and the Internet discussion will run from 3 to 31 October.

“This web-based public hearing is broad and inclusive and will provide and opportunity for everyone, including the public, to present their views on effective strategies to reduce the burden resulting the harmful use of alcohol,” said Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General of WHO’s Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster.

Submissions can be made to the WHO website in all of the six official UN languages, and will form the documentation to be discussed during upcoming separate meetings with alcohol industry representatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), professionals and Member States.

Benedetto Saraceno, Director of the agency’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, called for maximum participation in the online hearing.

“We are particularly interested in getting views on integrated approaches that can protect at-risk populations, young people and those affected by harmful drinking by others,” he said.

 

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