Far from resolving harmful alcohol consumption in Mexico: report
Harmful alcohol consumption is a "serious public health problem" in Mexico, and is "far from being resolved, if international recommendations that have proven to be cost-effective are not implemented," states the Civil Society Report on Harmful Alcohol Consumption.
The study notes that despite the situation, "there is no national policy against harmful alcohol consumption that integrates the three most effective strategies," namely increasing taxes, restricting physical availability and reducing marketing.
At a press conference, representatives of various civil groups indicated that more than three million people die each year worldwide from harmful alcohol consumption.
The researcher and editor of the report, teacher Alor Ricardo Ruiz Hernandez, said that the drinks are available at extended hours and near schools of all levels, to such an extent that 17 percent of elementary school students have already tried alcoholic beverages and 2.4 percent have excessive consumption. He added that men between 18 and 29 years old and women between 12 and 17 years old have high prevalence; on average they consume four to five drinks in the so-called pre-coping and most of them will continue to drink at a party or meeting.
The analysis highlights that increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages and their harmful consumption is a proven measure, which reduces such consumption and brings income to the government to cover the economic costs caused by this problem.
"The affordability of an alcoholic beverage largely determines how much alcohol a person consumes and how often. Less expensive drinks are preferred by teenagers, young people, heavy drinkers, and people of low socioeconomic status.
The analysis shows that these populations are highly vulnerable to alcohol consumption and associated risks, harm and disease, but are also sensitive to changes in beverage prices.
It also highlights that comprehensive bans and restrictions on advertising, sponsorship, and promotion of alcoholic beverages are powerful and cost-effective measures to prevent and reduce harm from alcohol consumption.
Among the most cost-effective actions, the total prohibition of alcohol marketing exposure in different media stands out.
In terms of the high physical availability of alcohol, he refers to the fact that this "can negatively influence a society's propensity to drink and thus disturb social and cultural norms that favor harmful alcohol consumption".
He warns that complications increase when drinking is done at an early age, such as in the early stages of adolescence. Studies show that those who start drinking at this stage are more likely to develop abuse or dependence.