Assessing cost-effective interventions to reduce the burden of harm associated with alcohol misuse in Australia

Researchers

  1. Professor Christopher Doran, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
  2. Mr Isaac Asamoah, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
  3. Professor Theo Vos, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
  4. Ms Linda Cobiac, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
  5. Professor Wayne Hall, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
  6. Ms Angela Wallace, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
  7. Ms Shamesh Naidoo, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
  8. Mr Joshua Byrnes, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
  9. Mr Greg Fowler, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
  10. Ms Kathryn Arnett, School of Population Health, University of Queensland

Summary

This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce the burden of harm associated with alcohol misuse in Australia.

A number of strategies are available to minimise the harm associated with alcohol misuse and considerable research has been conducted on whether various interventions for problem drinkers work; but policy makers also require additional information on the efficiency of interventions, including an assessment of both costs and consequences.

Outcomes

This study concludes that the most cost effective interventions include, in order, changing the volumetric taxation of alcohol; advertising bans; and increasing the minimum legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years. The least cost-effective interventions studied include, in order, residential treatments and naltrexone; random breath testing; drink driving mass media campaigns; and increased licensing controls.

The results provide policy makers with clear evidence on the cost-effectiveness of interventions to curb alcohol misuse. By re-allocating existing resources committed to reducing alcohol-related harm, policy makers could achieve over ten times the health gain for the same level of investment.

References

Doran, C, Vos, T, Cobiac, L, Hall, W, Asamoah, I, Wallace, A, Naidoo, S, Byrnes, J, Fowler, G & Arnett, K 2008 Identifying cost-effective interventions to reduce the burden of harm associated with alcohol misuse in Australia. Brisbane: University of Queensland.

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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