Working Together to Reduce Harmful Drinking.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Sharma, Manoj
Pub Date: 12/01/2011
Publication: Name: Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education Publisher: American Alcohol & Drug Information Foundation Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Psychology and mental health; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American Alcohol & Drug Information Foundation ISSN: 0090-1482
Issue: Date: Dec, 2011 Source Volume: 55 Source Issue: 3
Topic: NamedWork: Working Together to Reduce Harmful Drinking (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Grant, M.; Leverton, M.
Accession Number: 280092621
Full Text: Grant, M., & Leverton, M. (Eds.) (2010). Working together to reduce harmful drinking. New York: Routledge. [ISBN # 978-0-415-80087-7; 210 pages; $69.95]

This book is authored by people who are affiliated to the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP). ICAP is a not-for-profit organization funded by major international beverage alcohol companies that promotes understanding of alcohol in the society and aims at reducing alcohol problem by fostering partnerships between alcohol industry, governments, and public health community. It has produced several books in the area of alcohol published by Routledge, and this book is one of these, although there is a disclaimer that the views are those of individual authors and not those of the organization.

The book is organized into nine chapters. The first chapter is an introduction which describes the purpose of the book, defines harmful drinking, provides a rationale for involvement of alcohol industry in preventive efforts, and provides an overview of the book. It has been written by the editors of the book.

The second chapter is about the salient issues related to production of beer, wine, and spirits and discusses the public health implications of these processes. The chapter starts with a description of the history and process of alcohol production then describes the social and economic impact of alcohol production. The chapter has box items such as the one on Nile Breweries Eagle Lager Project, Uganda or sustainable development initiatives. These box items present interesting case accounts and break the monotony of continuous text and are a good feature of the book.

The third chapter is about regulations pertaining to alcohol availability. This aspect is important to understand in order to make alcohol policies. The chapter covers three types of drinks: traditional or homemade drinks such as arrack from India or kachasu from Zambia; mass produced illicit alcohol; and surrogate alcohol which includes medicinal products, cosmetics etc. This chapter also has interesting box items.

The fourth chapter is about marketing beverage alcohol. The chapter presents that there is a lack of consensus regarding the role of advertising on alcohol consumption. The chapter includes an interesting box item on the use of social marketing in the United Kingdom. The chapter also includes a useful discussion on the role of alcohol industry in reducing harmful drinking.

The fifth chapter is about pricing of the beverage alcohol. The chapter discusses how the price of alcohol can be used as a tool of public policy. The issue of price sensitivity which is a measure of how demand for a product is influenced by the price has been explained very well in this chapter. The box item in this chapter about the influence of alcohol price reductions in Finland is a useful contribution.

The sixth chapter is about selling and serving beverage alcohol. The chapter discusses social influences on drinking, issues of licensing restrictions, and responsibilities of retailers. The chapter has four box items and each one enriches the text. The chapter ends with a paragraph on conclusion. A summary or conclusion section should have been present in all chapters. This is currently lacking and would have been a useful reader friendly feature of this book.

The seventh chapter is about making responsible choices. It discusses the role of alcohol education and prevention of risky behaviors. This chapter has only one box item and it would have been nice to include more box items because this topic is such that number of case accounts can be included.

The eighth chapter is about working together and building relationships between governments, non governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and other interested organizations and individuals. Issues of embracing inclusivity, having shared values, and models of working together have been presented well in this chapter.

The final chapter is about implementing the WHO Global Strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol. The chapter describes how alcohol producers can contribute to reducing harmful drinking in countries where they are present. On the whole, this book is an important contribution for policy makers. It is a useful read for all policy makers involved with making alcohol related policies.

Review by Manoj Sharma, University of Cincinnati
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.