Royal College of Physicians
Reducing the harm caused by alcohol:
A co-ordinated European response
Tuesday 13 November 2007

Alcohol places an enormous burden on the health and well-being of European citizens and Europe as a whole. Each year in Europe, alcohol is a cause of some 45,000 deaths from liver cirrhosis, 50,000 cancer deaths, of which 11,000 are female breast cancer deaths, 17,000 deaths due to neuropsychiatric conditions, 27,000 accidental deaths, 10,000 suicides, and 200,000 episodes of depression. Alcohol places a burden not only on the drinker, but also on those surrounding the drinker (third party harms), including some 50% of all violent crime to the person, some 40% of all domestic violence, 2,000 homicides (4 in 10 of all murders), 10,000 deaths of people other than the drink-driver, and 1 in 6 of all cases of child abuse and neglect.

At the end of 2006, the European Commission launched a strategy to reduce the harm done by alcohol, with five priority themes:

There is little doubt of the importance of the medical professional in mobilizing public and political opinion for a co-ordinated response to reduce the terrible burden caused by the tobacco epidemic.  The purpose of this conference is to launch a co-ordinated European response by the medical profession to alert public and political opinion about the burden that alcohol places on European citizens and Europe as a whole and what should be done to reduce this burden.

This one day conference, organised by the Royal College of Physicians, aims to bring together representatives of the medical professions from the United Kingdom and from Europe to share the latest evidence and experience and to agree and produce a Conference Charter on what needs to be done for a co-ordinated response to reduce the harm caused by alcohol to Europe. 

 pdf icon small Charter

With financial support from the European Commission

Conference organisers:
Dr Peter Anderson, Consultant, Public Health
Professor Chris Day, Newcastle University
Dr Nick Sheron, Southampton General Hospital

09.00 Registration and coffee
Chair: Professor Ian Gilmore, President, Royal College of Physicians

09.30 Welcome address
Professor Ian Gilmore

‘Alcohol: The European Dimension’
Robert Madelin,
Director-General for Health and Consumer Protection, European Commission
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Dr Vladimir Poznyak,
World Health Organization

10.15 The burden caused by alcohol
Professor JÜrgen Rehm,
University of Toronto and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health,Toronto
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10.35 Discussion

10.45 Coffee

Chair: Professor Joe Barry, Irish Medical Organisation and Trinity College, Dublin

11.15 How can we reduce the burden?
Professor Sir Michael Marmot,
University College, London
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11.35 Discussion

11.45 Should we ban alcohol advertising?
Dr Peter Anderson
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12.05 Discussion

12.15 A co-ordinated response
Dr Richard Yoast,
American Medical Association
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12.35 Discussion

12.45 Lunch

Chair: Professor Jane Dacre, Academic Vice-President, Royal College of Physicians

13.45 North and South Europe – are we so different?
Dr Antoni Gual,
Neurosciences Institute, Clinic Hospital, University of Barcelona
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14.05 Discussion

14.10 Alcohol and the young
Dr Ann Hope,
Trinity College, Dublin
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14.30 Discussion

14.35 What can the medical profession do?
Professor Vivienne Nathanson, British Medical Association
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Professor Joe Barry,
Irish Medical Organisation

Dr Vladimir Poznyak,
World Health Organization
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15.05 Discussion

15.15 Tea

15.45 Break into groups to discuss and endorse Conference Charter

Professor Sir Michael Marmot
Professor Jürgen Rehm
Dr Antoni Gual
Dr Peter Anderson
Dr Ann Hope

16.35 Report back and agreement of Conference Charter

17.05 Close of conference and reception