In 2010, alcohol-related harm in the European Union cost €155bn. It’s enough to host the London Olympics fourteen times. It is a heavy cost to bear in times of economic crisis.
Over 12 million people in Europe are dependent on alcohol. You may know someone who has a problem with alcohol. Relationships can be destroyed as a result of alcohol’s addictive nature. Lives are lost due to drink-driving or violence.
There is a clear need to increase efforts to prevent excessive alcohol consumption as it is the second leading risk factor for disease burden in Europe, and AUDs are the leading cause of disability in men. Alcohol is responsible for 3.5% of cancer deaths in the world, recognised as a risk factor for over 60 diseases and disorders, including alcohol liver diseases, diabetes and cancer.
The Awareness Week on Alcohol-Related Harm (AWARH) will highlight the negative effects of alcohol and call for political and public action to address the problems it can cause. Given the substantial societal, economic and personal burden of alcohol related harm in Europe, efforts must be pursued at EU and national levels to fight alcohol-related harm in the EU, in particular via the renewal of the EU Alcohol Strategy and in the outcome of the ongoing Chronic Disease Reflection Process. The European Elections in May 2014 also represent a unique opportunity for candidates to raise awareness amongst European citizens of the prevalence and burden of alcohol-related harm and alcohol use disorders in Europe and show their commitment to tackling the issue. We therefore call upon the European Parliamentary groups to include concrete pledges for action in their respective manifestos for the elections.
In the light of these challenges, the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the European Liver Patients Association (ELPA), the European Mutual-Help Network for Alcohol-related Problems (EMNA), the European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness (EUFAMI), Eurocare, Alcohol Concern and Lundbeck are initiating the first European Awareness Week on Alcohol-Related Harm (AWARH13) on 13 to 17 May 2013. The Week will prompt a debate on the measures needed to tackle alcohol-related harm in Europe, and encourage you to show your commitment to the cause.
Throughout the Week, we will be encouraging you, at dedicated distribution points in Brussels, to state your commitment to tackle alcohol-related harm and show your support to address one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Europe. On 15 May, MEP Nessa Childers (S&D, Ireland) will host a policy event in the European Parliament entitled ‘Time for action: The need for an integrated EU alcohol strategy’. This event will explore how EU policies can continue to tackle alcohol-related harm and will see the launch of the ‘Conclusions of the EU Roundtable on an Integrated Approach to Alcohol Related Harm’. On 16 May, a breakfast event will be held with health attachés to focus on the measures needed at national level to tackle the problem.
What can you do to support AWARH?
- Come and visit the AWARH distribution points in Brussels and sign your commitment to address alcohol related harm in Europe
- Tweet your support for the Awareness Week on Alcohol-Related Harm and tell us why tackling alcohol-related harm is important to you
- Using the hashtag #AWARH13 and share the message with your friends
- Learn more at [insert link to consensus paper and social media release]
If you wish to sign-up to the regular update during the week, please contact [email protected] Burson Marsteller provides support for AWARH as consultants to Lundbeck.
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