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New Resource: Tools for supporting local action to reduce alcohol-related harms – Policy options and a resource inventory to support alcohol policy in Ontario

Submitted by Tamar Meyer, CAMH Resource Centre and Ben Rempel, Public Health Ontario

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Research evidence indicates that alcohol policies are effective measures in minimizing harms related to alcohol and can occur on both a large-scale (e.g. national/provincial policy) and a small-scale (e.g. municipal/community-based policy1) . Alcohol-related harms can often be seen at the local level - disorderly behaviour, public drunkenness, under-aged drinking, violence, addiction, criminal activity, and injuries. These harms directly affect our communities as they involve our neighbourhoods and roads, our sense of safety and wellbeing, our children, families and friends. Local problems are addressed by developing specific solutions to local alcohol issues and are best done in alignment with provincial and national alcohol policy initiatives.

Public Health Ontario and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Resource Centre have partnered on the development of a resource aimed at increasing awareness of and access to evidence-informed tools and resources regarding local/regional alcohol policy in Ontario. This resource also aligns with recommendations stemming from the Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity forum, specifically that: "Work can be done locally to build momentum towards an alcohol strategy: Initiatives include developing regional alcohol management strategies, creating and/or updating municipal alcohol policies, pressing for strong regulatory controls on alcohol, actively supporting alcohol-related health resolutions, and implementing proven interventions ..."2

Tools for supporting local action to reduce alcohol-related harms: Policy options and a resource inventory to support alcohol policy in Ontario consists of two tools which are intended to assist Healthy Communities Partnerships and public health stakeholders in the prevention of alcohol-related harms in their communities through increasing awareness of and the development of healthy public alcohol policies.

This resource contains a Policy options table based on the seven policy approaches identified by Babor et al.3, and is broken down into two levels. The first level identifies the evidence-informed local policy strategies that have been adapted primarily from the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia resource, Helping Municipal Governments Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms4 and Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity – Research and public policy, second edition5.

The second level identifies evidence-informed local actions that municipalities, communities and local stakeholders can take to reduce harms related to alcohol in their communities.

The second part of this resource is the Resource inventory which was developed as a companion to support the implementation of identified strategies and actions. Organized according to level of government involved in policy development, the inventory includes a summary of evidence-informed tools as well as examples of existing drug strategies, pertinent publications and other resources to help inform local stakeholders with the development and implementation of local alcohol policy.

We want to hear from you!

This first phase of the inventory is being launched as a working document and will continue to evolve over time. With your feedback, we will be able to ultimately offer a robust, evidence-informed compilation of tools and resources to support the development and implementation of local alcohol policies. In order to ensure that this resource is relevant at a local level, we welcome and invite your feedback regarding usability, gaps, success stories in developing and implementing local alcohol policy, along with additional tools and resources you are aware of. Specifically, we are interested in:

What other Ontario-specific policy-related tools or resources do you know of or have developed that can help communities/municipalities prevent or reduce harms related to alcohol?

What kinds of local alcohol policy activities and/or initiatives have you, your Public Health Unit, Healthy Communities Partnership, municipality/community been involved with?

To suggest a new tool or resource or for any questions or comments, please contact Tamar Meyer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ben Rempel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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1Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2004). "Alcohol Policy Framework for Reducing Alcohol-Related Problems" Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto.

2Rempel, B. July 20, 2012. Alcohol Policy in Ontario: The importance of on-going dialogue and discussions. Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin. 

3Babor, T., Caetano, R., Casswell, S., Edwards, G., Giesbrecht, N., Graham, K., et al. (2010). Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity - Research and Public Policy. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

4Centre for Addictions Research of BC (2010). Helping Municipal Governments Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms. Accessed March 16, 2012.

5Babor, T., Caetano, R., Casswell, S., Edwards, G., Giesbrecht, N., Graham, K., et al. (2010). Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity - Research and Public Policy. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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