Healthy Caribbean Coalition
The Healthy Caribbean Coalition
Statement from the Directors of HCC
The “First Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day: Misuse of alcohol is a bigger problem than you think”, is an initiative of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC)  aimed at sensitising the people of the Caribbean to the harmful effects of abuse of alcohol and encouraging them to “drink less and live better”.

Excessive drinking of alcohol is a major health risk, occurring particularly increasingly among the youth of the Region resulting in alcohol related violent deaths among the top 5 causes of death in the Region and the commonest cause of death among young men.  Additionally, abuse of alcohol is one of the 4 major risk factors contributing to chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), especially cancers, heart disease and stroke and there is an association between mental health and alcohol abuse.

The First Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day takes the form of the topic of alcohol being exclusively featured in the HCC weekly Roundup, 18th November 2016. The Alcohol Reduction Day Roundup features messages of support, information on Global/ Regional Alcohol related targets, resources and information arising out of activities that the HCC conducted over the past several years aimed at reduced alcohol consumption in the Caribbean.  The Roundup provides significant reference material of particular interest to the Caribbean to assist organisations and individuals in the Region wishing to address the issue of alcohol abuse in the Caribbean.

The Directors of the HCC are hopeful that this initial modest effort at the establishment of an Annual Day of recognition of the harmful effects of excessive drinking of alcohol in the Caribbean will in subsequent years become a major event in the Annual calendar of health events in the Region,  supported and sponsored by national governments and the major public health institutions of the Region, including PAHO/WHO, CARPHA and others, as we seek to address this significant cause of sickness and death with attendant economic consequences and costs for the people of the Caribbean. Let us then go forward with the expectation that – “Great oaks from little acorns grow”.


Statements of Support from Our Partners
Caribbean Public Health Agency
CARPHA fully supports this initiative of the HCC.  The epidemic of harmful use of alcohol in Caribbean countries causes high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, domestic violence, suicide, traffic accidents, workplace injuries and productivity losses. Nearly every community is tragically touched. The social and economic costs to governments, families and businesses are non-sustainable. Political leadership to implement public policies on pricing, availability and marketing of alcohol are urgently needed, coupled with intensive consumer education on the harms and improved addiction treatment service.
Alcohol is a key risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as liver disease, cancers, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, and injuries. Despite the health risks, awareness of the problems of alcohol use are not well known. HCC’s Alcohol Reduction Day initiative establishes an annual platform through which the urgency of addressing alcohol use problems can be emphasised to policy makers, while raising awareness among the Caribbean population that less alcohol is better.
Global Alcohol Policy Alliance
The Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) supports the initiative of the Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day. "Drink Less, Live Better" is an appropriate message for the day. GAPA is a global network which shares information on alcohol issues and advocates evidence-based alcohol policies, “free from commercial interests.” The increasing harm from alcohol needs to be met by informed citizens and a public health approach to reducing per capita consumption, including through population based alcohol policy measures.
World Cancer Research Fund International
World Cancer Research Fund International is proud to support the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s first annual Alcohol Reduction Day. Our analysis of worldwide research shows strong evidence linking alcohol with an increased risk of six cancers. For cancer prevention it is therefore best not to drink alcohol, but if you do limit alcoholic drinks and follow national guidelines. We believe that this Alcohol Reduction Day will bring much needed attention and awareness to the harmful effects of alcohol and ultimately improve people’s lives.  
The UK Health Forum
The UKHF recognise that alcohol consumption is responsible globally  for ‘3.3 million deaths every year which result from harmful use of alcohol,2 this represent 5.9 % of all deaths .The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease including cancers, and injury conditions, as well as having social consequences such as traffic accidents, workplace-related problems, family and domestic problems, and interpersonal violence’. The alcohol industry is an increasingly global business which requires a global response, particularly protecting the public health interests of the population from aggressive and inappropriate marketing strategies, and preferencing of commercial interests over those of the health of the population.  We therefore join with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition in its aims to protect vulnerable groups such as young people, those in recovery, and those drinking at particularly harmful and hazardous levels, from the impact on individuals, families and communities of alcohol related illness and harms caused to others by those under the influence of alcohol. We call on others globally to help support the actions of the HCC in representing the interests of those harmed and likely to be harmed by the actions of the alcohol industry.

In addition: It is vital to increase public awareness of the personal, social and economic harms due to alcohol and for Government and civil society to work together to properly protect the public from the marketing of alcohol especially young and the vulnerable.
Alcohol and the reduction of its use:
Alcohol represents the least acknowledged of the four traditional risk factors associated with NCD prevention. In the Caribbean casual alcohol use has not been accorded the same importance as the other three associated risk factors. The reason is partially historic and to some extent political. The Caribbean is a leading rum producer in the world. Some the most famous brands worldwide are produced here. Due to its relative economic importance criticism of alcohol usually is not tolerated.

This attitude tolerated by officialdom has done little to change the awareness of the general population regarding the problems associated with intemperate use of alcohol. As such the society has not addressed such issues as alcoholism and alcohol related injury. Clearly if the high incidence of NCDs and injuries is to be prevented, there has to be improved awareness of damage done by excessive use of alcohol in our societies. Read the full statement here.
The University of the West Indies Open Campus is pleased to support the HCC Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day.  For decades and up to the present, The UWI has been the leader of regional research concerning alcohol use and its effects, and the treatment and prevention of alcoholism.  We welcome the HCC initiative to broaden awareness of this serious problem, with the aim of improving the health of Caribbean people.
European Alcohol Policy Alliance
The European Alcohol Policy Alliance is a proud supporter of the HCC Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day: Misuse of Alcohol is a bigger problem than you think. Drink Less. Live Better on the 18 November 2016.

Across the world there is a need to increase awareness of the harms of alcohol. Alcohol related harm is determined by the volume of alcohol consumed and in particular the pattern of drinking.

In Europe the Alcohol Awareness Week (AWARH) will be held from 21st to 25th November 2016. The aim of the AWARH is to raise Awareness among EU policymakers of the harm caused by alcohol. This year’s theme is: Alcohol: A Cross-Border Health Determinant.
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados
CEO of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados, Mrs Gina Pitts wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition to bring awareness to the important positive effects that reducing or abstaining from alcohol can have on November 18th, 2016. With the season for over indulgence imminent the serious dangerous effects of alcohol upon the young and old alike require everyone to take stock regarding the level of consumption, to within a safer level.
The culturally accepted practice of excessive alcohol use in the Caribbean has long been recognized by the Caribbean Institute on Addictive Disorders (CARIAD) as a matter of serious concern. Since 1975 CARIAD has been at the forefront of alcohol and drug abuse prevention education, producing a network of over 2,600 graduates with the knowledge, skills and motivation to lead in addiction prevention, treatment and policy making in the Caribbean. CARIAD recognizes that for alcohol policy to successfully reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm there must be a change in the drinking culture. We therefore support the HCC in establishing the first HCC Caribbean Annual Alcohol Reduction Day and encourage widespread support of this initiative.
Jamaica Cancer Society
The Jamaica Cancer Society is pleased to join in solidarity with its fellow members of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition to lend its voice to amplify the fact that harmful use of alcohol has severe health and social consequences for the family and the community. Studies have confirmed that alcohol use is linked to cancers of the esophagus, liver, mouth, breast and colon.  As part of our guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention, we recommend that men consume no more than two drinks per day and for women, one per day. Let us work together to increase advocacy action to drive policies that will address access, pricing, marketing and advertising and community response to reduce the burden of this very serious risk factor.
Belize Cancer Society
I am writing in my capacity as President of the Trinidad and Tobago Heart Foundation ("ITHF") which was incorporated on 17th April 1998 as a national not for profit Foundation whose principal objective is creating awareness of heart health, healthy lifestyles and proper dietary habits in an effort to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke.
The TTHF welcomes the initiative led by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (MCC) to regionally increase awareness of the dangers of excessive drinking and driving particularly over the Christmas season because of the increased risks to personal safety through vehicle collision.
The TTHF endorses and supports an Annual Alcohol Reduction Day and will make it part of our outreach programme. 
Belize Cancer Society
The Belize Cancer Society fully supports the launch of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s (HCC) “Alcohol Reduction Day” on November 18, 2016. This year’s theme “Misuse of Alcohol is a Bigger Problem Than You Think” is relevant and can stimulate greater discussion on alcohol misuse in our communities. Reports from the National Drug Abuse Council in Belize indicate that 54% of persons, who access services for drug related problems, are those with alcohol misuse and abuse.  Traffic accidents and homicides are frequently caused by individuals who misuse and abuse alcohol. Importantly alcohol misuse is also linked to health-related illnesses, which include oral and liver cancers and other chronic illnesses. 

Belize’s non-communicable (NCD) strategic plan calls for action to support the achievement of a ten percent relative reduction of alcohol per capita consumption. Activities should also lead to a ten percent relative reduction in age-standardized prevalence of heavy episodic drinking among adolescents and adults. The launch of a Caribbean “Alcohol Reduction Day’ is timely. The Belize Cancer Society invites regional and local NCD Alliances, Drug Councils, Health Ministries and the wider society to join the HCC in launching their “Alcohol Reduction Day,” which is intended be an annual event.
The Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association (T&TMA) congratulates the Healthy Caribbean Coalition on this initiative to raise awareness of the effects of the harmful use of alcohol. We unanimously support the fight against the rising epidemic of Non communicable Diseases (NCDs) which threaten the progress towards the UN Millineum Development Goals, especially in our region.

Studies have proven that harmful alcohol use has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancers and diabetes, three of the recognised NCDs selected for worldwide action. T&TMA encourages healthy lifestyle choices and support the HCC’s first Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day.
Heart Foundation of Jamaica
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica supports this initiative of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and commends them for highlighting this very important issue. Excessive use of alcohol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It can raise the levels of some fats in the blood, lead to high blood pressure and heart failure. It can also lead to obesity due to the increased calorie intake.  

Excessive drinking and binge drinking can lead to a stroke. Of concern is the number of young persons who consume alcohol. A survey in Jamaica carried out by the National Council on Drug Abuse, the National Secondary School Survey 2013, showed that among Grade 8, 10, 11 and 12 students there was a lifetime use of alcohol of 64.1%, alcohol use in the past month of 44%, with 33.6% in the past year.   The Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey (2008) found that 65% of the population 15-74 years currently use alcohol.  

Overall two- thirds of Jamaicans report that they have consumed alcohol with males more frequently than females (84% vs. 53%) and more than half also report current use.  Alcohol Reduction Day will go a far way in highlighting the health risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption and the Heart Foundation of Jamaica wholeheartedly agrees that the “misuse of alcohol is a bigger problem than you think”.
Soul City would like to congratulate the HCC for this ground-breaking inaugural Alcohol Reduction Day. Harmful alcohol consumption in South Africa, like in the Caribbean, continues to increase with dire consequences for public health in terms of diseases, violence between men, gender-based violence and HIV. 

This initiative will serve to annually highlight not just harm, but also how to build a safe relationship with alcohol, and share the evidence-based prevention and treatment measures that are available. 
Global/Regional Alcohol Related Targets (SDGs/ GAP)
Sustainable Development Goals
Alcohol and the Sustainable Development Goals 
The inclusion of a focus on alcohol consumption within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)1 illustrates the increased diversity of the new global development agenda. Recognition of alcohol as a development issue refl ects its multiple social and economic impacts as well as the 3·3 million annual deaths, or 5·9% of all global deaths, that result from its consumption.
(The Lancet)

Alcohol and the Sustainable Development Goals: Major Obstacle to Development 
Alcohol is a major obstacle to sustainable development. 11 out of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals are negatively impacted by alcohol harm - and evidence shows that alcohol policy measures do make substantial contributions to achieving development goals.
(IOGT International)
The World Heath Organsiation
Global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol
Global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol - For the first time, delegations from all 193 Member States of World Health Organization (WHO) reached consensus at the World Health Assembly on a global strategy to confront the harmful use of alcohol. Since 2008, WHO has been in the process of drafting a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. On Friday 21 May 2010 the Sixty-third session of the World Health Assembly adopted by consensus resolution WHA63.13, which endorses the global strategy. Read more
Global status report on alcohol and health 2014
The Global status report on alcohol and health 2014 presents a comprehensive perspective on the global, regional and country consumption of alcohol, patterns of drinking, health consequences and policy responses in Member States. It represents a continuing effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) to support Member States in collecting information in order to assist them in their efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, and its health and social consequences. The report was launched in Geneva on Monday 12 May 2014 during the second meeting of the global network of WHO national counterparts for implementation of the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. Read more
Alcohol - In many parts of the world, drinking alcoholic beverages is a common feature of social gatherings. Nevertheless, the consumption of alcohol carries a risk of adverse health and social consequences related to its intoxicating, toxic and dependence-producing properties. Read more
Regional Status Report on Alcohol and Health in the Americas - examines the patterns and consequences of alcohol use in the Region and evaluates progress made since the enactment of the Global Strategy and Regional Plan of Action to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.
Global status report on alcohol and health 2014
The report is composed of three sections: 1) consumption of alcohol and resulting harm, comparing historical data from the Americas as well as current data within the Region and globally; 2) policies and interventions, focusing on a few of the ten target areas recommended by the Global Strategy; and 3) recommendations for policymakers in the Region. Wherever possible, this report attempts to explain gender differences in consumption and harm.
Read more
PAHO Meeting on Alcohol Marketing Regulation. Final Report - Scope and Purpose An exploratory international meeting on regulation of marketing* of alcohol products** was held at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters in Washington, D.C., USA, 12–13 January 2015.
PAHO Meeting on Alcohol Marketing Regulation. Final Report
The objectives of the meeting were to summarize the research on the effects of alcohol marketing on young people; review existing statutory and self-regulatory codes on marketing and examine their effectiveness; consider the implications of international trade agreements and other treaties for developing a global alcohol marketing code; and describe the experience of countries where alcohol marketing legislation has been recently enacted or proposed. Read more
Health Impacts of Women's Alcohol Consumption
Health Impacts of Women's Alcohol Consumption 1
Health Impacts of Women's Alcohol Consumption 2
Download the full size infographic here.
Alcohol Consumption: An Overview of International Trends
Alcohol Consumption: An Overview of International Trends
Alcohol consumption is causally linked to over 230 International Classification of Diseases (ICD) revision-10 three digit coded health conditions (World Health Organization, 2014), and the resulting burden of disease attributable to alcohol (the burden of disease that would be absent if no one consumed alcohol) is high. Furthermore, alcohol consumption ranks as the fifth most important risk factor for the burden of disease worldwide and ranked first in the region of the Americas for the year 2004.  Read more
Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use Disorders
Alcohol Use and Alcohol Use Disorders
Alcohol is one of the most important risk factors for premature mortality and disability. Premature mortality disproportionately affects low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (WHO 2011a); more than 85 percent of all deaths attributable to alcohol occur in these nations (Room and others 2013; WHO 2011a). This chapter updates the chapter on alcohol in Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, 2nd ed. (DCP2) (Rehm and others 2006), with new scientific evidence for interventions based on population, community, and individuals, with an emphasis on evidence from LMICs. Read more
More resources are available here on te PAHO Alcohol page.

Also there is a list of useful publications contained in this document.
The inclusion of a focus on alcohol consumption within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Alcohol and the Sustainable Development Goals 

The inclusion of a focus on alcohol consumption within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) illustrates the increased diversity of the new global development agenda. Recognition of alcohol as a development issue refl ects its multiple social and economic impacts as well as the 3·3 million annual deaths, or 5·9% of all global deaths, that result from its consumption. Read more
Alcohol and Global Health Series
Global status report on alcohol and health 2014
The adverse effects of alcohol consumption on population health are underestimated; a series, under the guidance of Robert Beaglehole, emeritus professor at the University of Auckland, highlights how one in 25 deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol, and calls for a global framework convention to reduce alcohol harm similar to the global convention on tobacco control. Read more
HCC in partnership with CARIAD Alcohol Webinar Series
CARIPAPAN Webinar The Need for Alcohol Policy in the Caribbean
The Need for Alcohol Policy in the Caribbean
CARIPAPAN 2nd Webinar
Gaps in Current Regional Alcohol Policy and the desire for Change – Opportunities for Civil Society Organizations
Conflicts of Interest Related to Alcohol Policy: What Can be Done?
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HCC News Roundup Archive - If you have missed any of our News Roundups you can view previous Roundups on our News Roundup Archive webpage here.
The HCC is a regional network of Caribbean health NGOs and civil society organizations with the remit to combat chronic diseases (NCDs) and their associated risk factors and conditions. Our membership presently consists of more than 50 Caribbean-based health NGOs and over 55 not-for-profit organisations and, in excess of 200 individual members based in the Caribbean and across the globe.

To join the HCC email us at
The work of HCC would not be possible without core funding from Sagicor Life Inc
Sagicor Life Inc.
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