Inconsistency and confusion about the use of alcohol are the rule in the major institutions of American society. Efforts to change the drinking behavior of individuals have failed because institutional messages are at odds with public health messages. Thus changing the institutional environment around alcohol must be a priority for prevention efforts. Messages inconsistent with prevention goals emanate from federal, state and local governments; media and educational institutions; professional sports; medical institutions; corporations; charitable foundations; the retail beverage industry; the insurance industry; judicial and legal institutions; churches; and institutions in minority populations. Changing the practices of these institutions requires well-coordinated grassroots efforts. A successful plan of action must include translation and dissemination of research through action-oriented informational resources: seminars, conferences and workshops introducing people to the institutional perspective on alcohol- related problems; designation and training of leaders; creation of issue-oriented coalitions which provide the basis for broadening cooperation; creation of alcohol-specific positions in major national advocacy organizations; development of a national alcohol response network, facilitating constant contact and coordinated planning among alcohol policy activists; and creation of technical assistance centers, which can provide training and resources to potential activists and nascent coalitions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health