JOMEC Policy Statement on Prevention
JOMEC Addiction Professionals supports a wide variety of measures to prevent alcohol- and other drug-related problems in contemporary society, understanding that carefully thought out prevention measures have demonstrably reduced the early onset of alcohol, nicotine, and other drug use and addiction in some populations1 and contributed to a reduction in deaths and serious injury resulting from drug-related illnesses and accidents. These and other identifiable results have major economic implications.
JOMEC, therefore, supports prevention policies and programs that include, but are not limited to, the following recommendations:
1. A comprehensive and coordinated national program involving a combination of approaches:
a. Education about the nature and causes of addiction will be required by both the public and private sectors to develop support for comprehensive prevention. Physicians have an indispensable and ongoing role in this education process.
b. Sound scientific research into the causes of addiction, and the careful evaluation of prevention measures undertaken, are needed in order to improve the fund of knowledge upon which more effective prevention strategies may be based. The American Society of Addiction Medicine, therefore, recommends that such research be given high priority by government, universities, foundations, and other research institutions.
2. Controls on the availability, advertising and promotion of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products:
a. Maintaining a national minimum legal drinking age of 21 years for all alcoholic beverages and a minimum legal smoking tobacco age of 18 years old.
b. Curbs on advertising of all alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, including:
- The voluntary elimination of radio and TV advertising;
- As an intermediate step, establishing and enforcing national standards for radio, TV, print and internet advertising which eliminate use of teenagers and young adults, athletes, persons engaging in risky activity, and sexual innuendo;
- Eliminating alcohol advertising and promotion that portrays activities that can be dangerous when combined with alcohol use;
- Eliminating sponsorship of youth-oriented concerts and all sports events by tobacco and alcoholic beverage manufacturers;
- Eliminating alcohol advertising and promotion on college campuses, where a high proportion of the audience reached is under the legal drinking age;
- Banning special low-price promotions, such as cut rate “happy hours,” “two-for-the-price-of-one drinks”, or free drinks for female patrons;
- Counter advertising, through paid and public advertising, including health warnings about alcoholism and alcohol-related problems, nicotine dependence, and tobacco product related health problems;