Asean meeting mulls regional alcohol policy
VIENTIANE — Health experts from Laos and other Asean member countries are meeting in Vientiane this week to discuss regional alcohol policy and knowledge-sharing in the field.
Participants are reporting on the progress of their activities and sharing plans including the exchange of information on existing standards and conformity assessment procedures on alcohol policy development and implementation in Asean.
Director General of the Hygiene and Health Promotion Department of the Ministry of Health, Dr Bounpheng Philavong, told the meeting on Monday that it had an important role to play in sharing information and knowledge on alcohol policy among Asean members as well as analysing the current situation to identify key priorities for potential cooperation in addressing the harmful use of alcohol.
“Participants are requested to give a presentation about the situation in their country and experiences relating to alcohol policy,” he said.
For several years, the Lao government’s Law on Alcoholic Beverages Control has sought to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by drinking along with the provision of treatment for people suffering from accidents or illnesses resulting from drinking, he added.
He also explained the meaning and importance of the definitions, regulations and measures setting out the law’s implementation, the management and inspection of alcoholic drinks, and the intensive treatment system.
This is aimed at protecting people’s benefits and rights to health and to reduce death rates from accidents and diseases caused by the consumption of alcoholic drinks.
Drink driving is now a chronic problem and regularly causes deaths and the destruction of property, while drinking in general is on the rise in Laos.
According to the Ministry of Health, about 60 percent of road accidents each year involve drinking and driving.
Current figures show that people aged 15 and upwards consume an average of 15 litres of pure alcohol equivalent per year, mainly in the form of beer, with consumption rates increasing steadily.
The Law on Alcoholic Beverages Control came into effect in 2014, and the amended Law on Treatment was passed in 2015.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.