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Evidence and alcohol policy: lessons from the Italian case


  • Franca Beccaria


During the 1970s, the total alcohol consumption model (TCM) and the public health approach it inspired shifted the focus of control policies from individuals to the entire population. From the late 1990s, sociological studies challenged TCM and indicated the advantages of the harm-reduction approach, which distinguishes between low- and high-risk patterns of use, and suggested the adoption of a drinking patterns paradigm, focussing on the relationship between type, ways and contexts of drinking and alcohol-related problems. TCM nonetheless remains influential in international discussions of alcohol policy, and sociological studies are largely ignored by the most influential stakeholders in the field. Using Italy as an international comparative case study, the paper challenges the universal application of the public health approach in alcohol policy. It offers insights into support for the drinking patterns paradigm and argues for an increased contribution from the social sciences to understanding and addressing the alcohol issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Franca Beccaria, 2015. "Evidence and alcohol policy: lessons from the Italian case," Contemporary Social Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 212-220, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocxx:v:10:y:2015:i:2:p:212-220
    DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2015.1061684

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