Submission to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) welcomed the opportunity to make a submission on the review of the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol 2009 (Guidelines).

Guidelines on alcohol consumption are important as they enable individuals to be able to make informed choices about their drinking and how these compare choices to epidemiological evidence on risk of harm. However, FARE recognises that informed choice is only possible if consumers receive accurate, evidence-based and timely information. The Guidelines also need to be actively promoted to ensure that the public are aware of them to make the most informed choice possible.

FARE recognises there are several concepts that impact the adoption of the Guidelines by members of the general public, these include understanding: risk; standard drinks and alcohol-related disease and injury. A further difficulty to the adoption of the Guidelines is the publics’ understanding of ‘standard drinks’ and how to calculate these.

This submission by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), outlines four areas for improvement in the updating and review of the Guidelines, these include the need to:

  1. Clarify the wording of Guideline 1
  2. Provide clear and strong advice about risk associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  3. Promote the Guidelines to the Australian public
  4. Ensure that people are able to understand the Guidelines to be able to incorporate them into their life.

FARE supports policy reforms that contribute to a reduction in alcohol-related harms in Australia. Our policy work is informed by the evidence of what is most effective in reducing alcohol-related harms. We support the progression of population-based health measures, which take into consideration the far reaching and complex impacts of alcohol-related harms.

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