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Every Dollar Spent on Prevention Will Save at Least Ten in Social, Crime and Health Costs!

17 August 2016

Every Dollar Spent on Prevention Will Save at Least Ten in Social, Crime and Health Costs!

 

The United Nations have published a new International Guidance on drug use prevention. United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 

https://www.unodc.org/documents/prevention/UNODC_2013_2015_international_standards_on_drug_use_prevention_E.pdf

Alcohol is also a drug and must be considered accordingly.
The pressure from alcohol industry is pushing the national decision makers to loose their good focus on public health. It seems that individual's easy access to non ordinary shopping product - alcohol - is suddenly seen important. Alcohol is not ordinary product as it causes harm and addiction. All evidence based research shows that good policy is the most effective measure on prevention and it should have regulations for limiting availability and marketing and pricing correctly. UN report shows how targeting prevention programmes to different age groups and especially to parents creates best public health protection.

 

The UN prevention booklet highlights the importance of focusing on children, adolescents and on parenting. Parents generally want the best for their children but may feel powerless if the society around them does not  provide a safety net to carry out the boundaries that they try to educate their children to keep. Prevention is about safe and healthy development of people. This needs good laws and policies in addition to human will to protect each other’s well being. The market driven approach of increasing availability of alcohol, medicines or drugs for example by  releasing stronger alcohol to shops leads to vulnerable groups having increased use and alcohol related harm. The trouble is that world economy is currently very slow and alcohol industry have not missed this opportunity to advocate for more business with national decision makers. Increased alcohol sales provide more customers to many shops and this has become an argument that industry use- they create more jobs, more revenue, more, more and more. However as said in the headline every dollar spent on prevention comes back ten times as reduced problems. You can only imagine what every extra dollar invested on alcohol sales creates- more problems and ill health!!  This is exactly the reason why Governments should not be blinded by the industry arguments. The question is – what weighs more, easy access to alcohol and more customers and sales OR preventing youth drinking, addiction, violence and harm to others. It could be said that our youth have ten times more chance of better future if we can prevent their and their families substance abuse.

This document is a very good read, I warmly recommend you to read it and encourage you to learn from it and put it in action. We can make a difference together!

 

Anne Babb

General Secretary

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