Suchttherapie 2022; 23(S 01): S3
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1755943

Substance use and the Sustainable Development Goals: greater problems with development? – and how might this be prevented?

R Room
1   La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
2   Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
› Author Affiliations

The United Nations adopted a set of 17 interlocking Sustainable Development Goals as global aims for 2015–2030. While alcohol and narcotic drugs are mentioned, there has been little consideration of what effects attaining the goals may have on levels of harm from alcohol and other drug use. In cross-sectional comparisons, there are higher average levels of consumption of alcohol and controlled drugs in richer societies. But the harm per unit of use tends to be lower in richer societies, at least for alcohol. So what has happened historically to alcohol and other drug use and problems when there is socioeconomic development? Often there have been increases in substance use and also in problems. Societal responses to limit the harms are often delayed by a generation or more, resulting in “long waves” of consumption and associated harms. To take alcohol and other drugs coherently into account in the Sustainable Development Goals, the double-sided effect of an increase in use with prosperity needs to be countered by policies such as WHO’s “best buys” for alcohol. The 3rd edition of Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity, published this month, includes reviews and ratings of the effectiveness of different policies in reducing consumption and problems in populations as a whole, identifying price increases, limits on availability, marketing restrictions and drink-driving countermeasures as best practices.

Publication History

Article published online:
30 August 2022

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