What should be the legal age for drinking?

Policies & Activities

Alcohol policies are measures taken to control the supply and/or affect the demand for alcoholic beverages in a population, including education and treatment programs, alcohol control and harm-reduction strategies.

Alcohol related policies may be:

  • Population based policies – aim to alter levels of alcohol consumption among the population. E.g., policies on taxation, advertising
  • Problem directed policies – aimed at specific alcohol related problems like drunk driving or alcohol related offences
  • Direct interventions – aimed at individual drinkers such as brief intervention, treatment and rehabilitation programs


Effective, comprehensive and sustainable alcohol policies involve a policy mix, which has certain components like

  • Use of taxation and control of physical access
  • Supports drunk driving countermeasures
  • Invests in treatment of alcohol use disorders, particularly in primary care
  • Advertising restrictions
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Based on scientific research evidence



Babor, T.F., and Higgins-Biddle. Brief Intervention for Hazardous  and Harmful Drinking: Manual for use in primary care. World Health Organization.

World Health Organization (2011). Global Status Report: Alcohol Policy. Geneva: Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization