Round-Up - The ICAP Digest - July
Every month, the International Center for Alcohol Policies looks at responsible drinking measures around the world
Once a month, the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), which covers alcohol policies worldwide, will look at what's going on in-market to promote a responsible role for alcohol in society.
Casino. In the US, the Navajo Nation Council has approved a proposal to allow patrons of the Twin Arrows casino to consume alcohol on the casino floor. Proponents contend it will make Twin Arrows more competitive with other tribal casinos that do not limit alcohol service to dining areas, while opponents expressed concerns about alcohol-related harms affecting the Navajo community.
Also on the casino front, a lawmaker in the Buenos Aires provincial legislature has introduced a draft amendment that would prohibit gambling establishments from serving complimentary alcohol beverages to patrons. Broad Progressive Front (FAP) Provincial Deputy Ricardo Vago highlighted the example of Trilenium Casino, where he said staff provide slot machine players with “four glasses of beer per hour,” and emphasised the risks of gambling while intoxicated.
eID. The Dutch Government is reportedly drafting legislation that would require digital age verifying identification for all online purchases of alcohol beverages. Ministers are planning for every Dutch citizen to have an online passport ID, given the working title of 'eID', to reduce access to alcohol by underage youth and also to deter fraud.
As part of a campaign in Scotland that targets underage alcohol consumption, supermarket chains have agreed to train smaller retailers on responsible selling practices. The East Edinburgh Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) campaign will see supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Scotmid Co-operative train staff in other licensed retail stores - as one of the campaign’s key priorities is to reduce opportunities for underage youth to obtain alcohol beverages - and will also conduct seminars for parents and youth.
Survey. In China, officials representing stakeholders in public health, law enforcement, and local government presented survey results collected during the ongoing Global Actions two-year pilot intervention conducted in Nanjing. Comparative surveys conducted before and after the introduction of the initiative that collected breathalyser results and questionnaires from 10,314 respondents reportedly found that the incidence of drink-driving fell from 2% to 0.75%, and that motorcyclists led operators of other vehicle types in drink-driving at a rate of 5.9%. Nanjing traffic officials reported that, compared with the previous year, recorded drink-driving violations and traffic crashes had decreased by 3.3% and 8.2%, respectively.
The pilot intervention programme and survey are part of the Drink Driving Initiative coordinated by Global Actions in China to help reduce alcohol-related road traffic crashes. To continue these efforts, ICAP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CCDC) Office of Epidemiology to develop a capacity building toolkit for drink-driving prevention in Phase II of the initiative.
Appeal. Officials have introduced plans to petition the Namibian Supreme Court for approval to appeal a decision effectively invalidating the use of evidence obtained by breathalysers in Swakopmund district courts. The lower court ruling, which resulted from a lawsuit challenging the validity of a 2011 drink-driving charge, stated that guidelines for permissible breathalyser instruments laid out by then-Transport Minister Moses Amweelo in 2003 did not conform to the Road Traffic and Transport Act.
In Brazil, breath testing results are also being reviewed by courts. A recent Court of Rio Grande do Sul decision ruled that a vehicle operator commits an alcohol-related traffic offence only if his or her reflexes are clearly diminished, and that breathalyser results alone are not enough to demonstrate guilt. The judge concluded that an investigator must ascertain whether the driver’s motor skills were impaired through a reflex examination.
Ruling. Under a recently-announced Supreme Court ruling, the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol could be prohibited in some parts of Indonesia. The ruling is the result of a 2012 judicial review filed by the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) seeking to abolish a 1997 presidential decree that prevented local governments from banning alcohol sales. More than 22 regencies and municipalities in the country have passed local bylaws prohibiting alcohol sales, but the bans had been annulled in light of a presidential decree permitting sales of beverages with an abv greater than 5% in hotels, bars, clubs, and other designated areas.
Additionally, the Indonesian Government is reportedly expected to lift certain restrictions on its beer, wine, and spirits industries by allowing manufacturers to expand their production capacities and enlist foreign investment. Beverage alcohol production is presently included in the government’s negative investment list (DNI) of industries prohibited from receiving foreign direct investment, and a senior Industry Ministry official said a proposal to lift the ban on expansion could be implemented in late 2013.
Interventions. According to new statistics from Scotland’s Information Services Division, NHS Borders has conducted 2,655 alcohol brief interventions in 2012/2013, surpassing the Scottish Government’s target of 1,247 interventions. “Alcohol brief interventions are an important way of not only identifying individuals who might have problems with alcohol misuse, but also helping them to understand the damage that it can do and encourage them to lead a healthier lifestyle,” said Member of the Scottish Parliament John Lamont. Completing nearly 10,000 interventions since 2008, NHS Borders is the second most successful health board in Scotland for alcohol brief interventions.
Brief interventions are an example of targeted approaches that focus on specific groups rather than on population-wide prevention programmes. This type of intervention has been shown to reduce alcohol-related harm among problem drinkers, which can help to avoid negative health outcomes and contribute to reducing the social costs associated with harmful drinking.
Parks. Moscow’s municipal government has introduced restrictions on the sale of certain alcohol beverages in the city’s summer cafes. Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin signed a decree prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages other than beer, cider, and mead from non-stationary facilities located in outdoor public places including parks, zoos, amusement parks, and museum grounds. Small, non-stationary cafes are also reportedly prohibited from selling alcohol under the decree.
In Canada, outdoor drinking is also being restricted. The Toronto Police Department has launched 'Project Green Glasses', which will increase patrols in parks and fine people found with open containers of alcohol up to CAD125. Opponents of the initiative say that officials should be targeting anti-social behavior and noise disturbances, instead of responsible alcohol consumption in public parks.
Celebrities. The Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan is reportedly considering draft legislation prohibiting the use of celebrities in alcohol advertisements. The legislation would also prohibit the use of images of animated characters or animals in alcohol ads. It is scheduled to be introduced in the plenary session of the autumn session of Parliament.
In debates concerning alcohol advertising regulations in Ireland, the Oireachtas Committee released a report which found that sporting organisations would “suffer inordinately” if draft legislation prohibiting sports sponsorship by alcohol producers was introduced. The report recommends that alcohol sponsorship funds be levied instead, with the revenues generated being used to fund harm reduction programmes.
Undercover. Italy’s agriculture ministry has appointed a special agent to inspect the authenticity of products marketed as Prosecco in bars, restaurants, and retailers in the Veneto region. Selling Prosecco served on tap or from non-original containers such as carafes is reportedly prohibited, and businesses that sell inauthentic Prosecco could be fined as much as EUR20,000.
The International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) is a not-for-profit organisation supported by major international producers of beverage alcohol. Established in 1995, ICAP’s mission is to promote understanding of the role of alcohol in society and to help reduce harmful drinking worldwide. ICAP’s efforts to foster dialogue and partnerships in the alcohol policy field are shaped by its commitment to pragmatic and feasible solutions to reducing harm that can be tailored to local and cultural considerations and needs. ICAP has been recognised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) as a non-governmental organisation in Special Consultative Status.
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