Every month, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking looks at responsible drinking measures around the world

Every month, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking looks at responsible drinking measures around the world

Once a month, the drinks industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which covers alcohol policies worldwide, looks at what's going on in-market to promote a responsible role for alcohol in society.

  • Dominican Republic – New drink-driving law passes in a first for Dominican Government

President Danilo Medina has enacted legislation establishing a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.5mg/ml, with a zero BAC limit for professional drivers, marking the Government's first use of a BAC limit. Listín Diario reports that the Law of Mobility, Terrestrial Transport, Transit & Road Safety will also introduce new breath-testing regulations for Dominican Republic National Police officers and designate all monitoring of public roads to the National Institute for Transit & Transportation. The move would effectively dissolve the General Directorate of Land Transit, the Technical Office for Ground Transportation and the Fund for Development of Ground Transport. The newly-created General Directorate of Traffic Safety & Land Transportation will also be tasked with all road traffic law enforcement under the new legislation.

  • Estonia – Cross-border alcohol trips push retailer to close stores

Retail chain Coop Eesti has announced that it will close six of its stores in southern Estonia due to the increasing number of individuals crossing the border into Latvia to purchase less expensive products, following a series of tax increases on beverage alcohol and fuel. A Coop Esti spokesperson said that when people cross the border to purchase alcohol from Latvia, they also purchase "food and fuel and everything else that can be bought cheaply" which has had a negative impact on stores located in the south.

  • Uganda – Council refuses to lift ban on alcohol in plastic sachets

The Gulu District Council has decided to ignore a directive from Minister of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde to suspend until September a recently-imposed "Alcohol Control Ordinance", banning the sale of the inexpensively-produced gin waragi in plastic sachets and restricting the opening hours of the district's bars. The Ministry of Trade informed the council in January that the availability of waragi in plastic sachets has become a national issue that the ministry would shortly address with a nation-wide ban that would supersede any local laws. However, a council source stated that it is "not going to suspend implementing the Ordinance", as it has seen "good results in the past few months and the residents are happy". Member of Parliament Betty Nambooze has also recently submitted a bill to the legislature that would consolidate all existing alcohol-related legislation and tighten restrictions on consumption and sales. Nambooze cites excessive consumption as the main cause of the country's poverty, cancer, and unemployment.

  • India – State Excise Department allows sale of plastic sachets

The Rajasthan State Excise Department has announced that retailers will be allowed to sell alcohol beverages in 18cl plastic sachets as part of an initiative to reduce unrecorded alcohol consumption, with the additional intention of increasing the state's excise duty revenues for the current fiscal year. India Today reports that distilled spirits packaged in sachets will have an abv of 10% below those packaged in bottles, and estimates that the population of Rajasthan's Bharatpur District purchases approximately 10,464 bottles of beer and 16,560 bottles of whiskey on a daily basis. The Indian National Congress has criticised the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party state government for allegedly promoting alcohol consumption, and has asserted that while there should be legislation prohibiting the sale, production, and consumption of alcohol, "new ways are being used" to sell alcohol.

  • European Union – EU official guarantees decision on Croatia-Slovenia wine dispute

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has stated that the EU will shortly examine a complaint from the Government of Slovenia challenging the rights the EU previously granted Croatia to use the Teran brand name for a red wine produced in the Istrian peninsula, which both countries share. The Associated Press reports that the terms of the permission granted to Croatia by the EU required that the words "Croatian Istria" appear on the wine bottles' labels in larger font than the Teran name. At a joint media conference with Juncker, Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said the Government will take any legal measure necessary to ensure the Teran name can only be used for wine produced in Slovenia and "do everything to protect [the country's] interest."

  • US – Utah could stand alone as first state to lower BAC limit

The Utah State Senate has passed draft legislation that would reduce the state's legal blood alcohol concentration limit from 0.8mg/ml to 0.5mg/ml, meaning it would be the first US state to make this reduction. Advocates of the bill believe it could reduce the state's alcohol-related road traffic crash fatality rate by as many as 63 deaths annually, asserting that it is a road safety bill rather than a beverage alcohol regulation bill. Senators critical of the bill, however, have asserted that it would negatively impact tourism in the state. KSL TV reports that the state's Governor, Gary Herbert, is "supportive" of the bill, although a spokesperson for the governor declined to confirm whether he would sign it into state law.

  • Colombia – Court allows employees to consume alcohol and use drugs

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the prohibition of "working under the influence of narcotics or debilitating drugs" in the country's Labour Code contradicts two articles of the constitution that grant equality to all individuals in the workforce. 24 Horas reports that the court's ruling in a case brought by two law school students will allow workers to consume alcohol beverages or use drugs, as long as it does not interfere with their duties, with the exception of employment that "involves risk for the worker, his colleagues, or third parties," such as transportation jobs. Legal experts commented that "being under the effects of a substance cannot be punishable if there is no damage or negligence of conduct". Opponents of the ruling argue that it may have "bad consequences for society" and give employees the idea they can do whatever they please while working.

  • Pakistan – Court rules to close bars throughout province

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the province-wide closure of bars selling beverage alcohol, in order to ascertain how to prevent them selling unrecorded alcohol after a series of police raids revealed a rise in unrecorded trade throughout the province. Dunya News reports that police recently carried out raids across Punjab following the widely-reported deaths of 42 people in Toba Tek Singh after consuming illicit alcohol beverages. Police recently seized a truck containing 12,000 bottles of unrecorded alcohol in the city of Bhakkar, and confiscated 100 litres of it in a separate raid in Gujranwala.

  • South Korea – Government lifts restrictions on breweries

The Government of South Korea has drafted legislation that will allow independent craft breweries to sell their beer at discount and convenience stores and permit brewers to produce beer made from chestnut, sweet potato, and other base ingredients. Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn recently met with several ministers to discuss the bill as well as other opportunities to bolster the country's economy, following a period of poor economic outlook.

  • Uruguay – Senator presents bill in bid to reduce underage drinking

National Party Senator Verónica Alonso has announced several proposals to reduce excessive beverage alcohol consumption among youth and pregnant women through prevention and educational workshops. Alonso told EFE that her team has presented its plans to President Tabaré Vázquez's Multi-sectoral Commission for the Regulation of Alcohol Consumption, calling for the participation of other ministries such as the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Tourism & Sport. El Espectador reports that Alonso is collaborating with senators from other parties to create a "comprehensive [alcohol] bill to take to Parliament for its consideration", and that she will meet with President Vázquez this month to present her proposals, which include requiring health providers to place information on the prevention of harmful drinking on their websites.

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