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RESET Alcohol: A new initiative to reduce alcohol-related health harms

Vital Strategies is proud to lead RESET Alcohol, a groundbreaking $15 million initiative to reduce alcohol-related harms in at least 15 hard-hit countries.

Alcohol consumption, which has steadily risen since 2005, is directly linked to more than 200 diseases and types of injury, including noncommunicable diseases such as liver disease, heart disease and some cancers. These health harms are compounded by negative social and economic consequences from which individuals, families and communities find it difficult to recover.

Yet, even though it is a top ten driver of death, illness and injury globally—and accounts for 10% of deaths among 15-49 year olds—alcohol consumption remains an underfunded and neglected threat to public health. Meanwhile, the alcohol industry pushes its products into nearly every aspect of our lives, including schools, sports and media. Much as tobacco ads once did before tobacco marketing was legally restricted, alcohol advertisements associate drinking with glamour and good times—and not with the disease and injury associated with its consumption.

That is why we at Vital Strategies are proud to lead RESET Alcohol, a groundbreaking $15 million initiative to reduce alcohol-related harms in hard-hit countries. Funded by Givewell, RESET is a global consortium involving Movendi InternationalUniversity of Illinois ChicagoInstitute for Health Research and Policy, Global Alcohol Policy AllianceNCD Alliance, and the World Health Organization.  This funding is a welcome infusion of resources into a neglected public health crisis, roughly doubling existing global funding on alcohol control.

By combining the collective force of national governments, civil society, research organizations, and global leaders in public health and alcohol policy, RESET Alcohol aims to develop and implement evidence-based alcohol policies from the World Health Organization’s SAFER technical package. Its primary policy focus is increasing alcohol taxation—because when prices go up for the consumer, consumption goes down and we could see fewer road deaths, cancer cases, domestic violence and other harms. Along with pricing policies, government partners are encouraged to complement alcohol tax increases by addressing alcohol marketing and availability.

Over the next three years, the initiative will support at least 15 countries to develop policies to raise the price of alcohol via taxation, regulate availability, and restrict alcohol marketing, working primarily in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Every year, alcohol use cuts short millions of lives—especially young lives. It’s time for governments to treat alcohol like the public health crisis that it is. We need policies that protect young people, make healthy choices the easy choices, and check industry influence. RESET Alcohol aims to do just that through strong partnerships with government and civil society leaders committed to action.

Learn from the Experts

Jacqui Drope, Director, RESET Alcohol explains how the program will use policy to address the health harms of alcohol.