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The new policy mix: alcohol, harm minimisation and determined drunkenness in contemporary society.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number4
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)258-268
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper reflects on the relationship between harm reduction, demand reduction, and supply reduction (collectively, harm minimisation) in relation to the individual, socio-economic, and legal regulation of alcohol, focusing on changing consumption patterns of youths and young adults in the UK. Firstly, harm reduction and practices of self-regulation are considered within the British context of an apparent culture of intoxication, with evidence of determined drunkenness amongst young people that builds upon a longstanding tradition of northern European drinking characterised by weekday restraint and weekend excess. Secondly, demand reduction and the predominant public health programme of recommended sensible drinking levels are discussed in relation to the credibility gap between such messages and contemporary alcohol-related attitudes and behaviours. Thirdly, looking at supply, recent legislative changes and broader developments in the alcohol industry are explored. They counterbalance economic deregulation of licensed leisure with the increased criminalisation of some drinkers. In order to produce the most effective policy mix, individualised models of harm reduction and demand reduction need to be located within broader, culturally appropriate, and context-specific policies that consider the socio-economic, political, and environmental factors influencing harm, demand, and supply.

Bibliographic note

RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Social Work and Social Policy