Restrictions on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol: Evidence and Outcomes


For many societies, the consumption of alcohol and its related outcomes are deeply embedded in cultural, economic, legal and health systems. Yet alcohol is not an ‘ordinary commodity’. It is a powerful toxin with undeniable physical, mental and social consequences for drinkers and those around them. Levels of alcohol consumption and related harms are a function of both the demand for the product and its supply or availability, and there is a clear need to intervene in these in order to achieve a balance between the costs and apparent benefits of alcohol supply and consumption. One way in which authorities have attempted to achieve such a balance is through the imposition of legislation and regulations restricting the availability of alcohol. This study arose to address the need for a comprehensive understanding of ‘what works and where’ in relation to the many and varied alcohol restrictions applied throughout Australia. The specific objectives of this study were to: i) determine the effectiveness of past and existing restrictions or ‘packages’ of restrictions and conditions placed on the sale of alcohol and measures of alcohol-related harm, drawing on both national and international studies; ii) identify current best practice in relation to the use of restrictions on the supply of alcohol; iii) identify the key factors determining whether or not restrictions on the sale of alcohol are, or could be effective in the short and long-term, in relation to both metropolitan situations and regional and remote communities, Indigenous communities, and also both individual premises and locality restrictions; and, iv) identify the restrictions or package of restrictions most likely to result in meaningful and/or sustainable reduction of alcohol-related harm within regional and remote communities within Western Australia, and identify other conditions or factors that need to be in place for optimal effectiveness. The report identifies and describes a range of formal and informal, published and unpublished studies, evaluations and reviews of the impact of alcohol restrictions on consumption and related harms. The review is broad and comprehensive in scope and includes international, national and local studies of alcohol restrictions. (Introduction, edited.)

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National Drug Research Institute 2007 ISBN: 1 74067 533 9 This publication is copyright. Except as expressly provided in the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced by any means (including electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without prior written permission from the publisher. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction rights should be directed to the National Drug Research Institute.