Stockwell, T., R. (2001). Harm reduction, drinking patterns and the NHMRC Drinking Guidelines. Drug and Alcohol Review, 20, (1), pp. 121-129. [RJ362]
In June 2000 Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council released a Consultation Draft of new National Drinking Guidelines 1. There were several new departures from the previous guidelines 2 reflecting not only advances in scientific evidence base but also the increasing influence of the related concepts of harm reduction and drinking patterns on the alcohol field in Australia. These guidelines were developed largely from a comprehensive literature review commissioned specially for the project 3. At the time of writing the guidelines are still being revised in the light of the community consultation exercise which included an open seminar at the 1999 APSAD conference and a call this year for written submissions. Some 45 submissions were received and a number of modifications are currently being made. The purpose of this article is not to anticipate the final version but to reflect on the significance of drinking guidelines for harm reduction in Australia and to suggest the kind of research that is needed for the next version in five years time to be improved further.
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