To download this module as a PDF, please click here.
The ICAP Blue Book: Practical Guides for Alcohol Policy and Prevention Approaches proposes a new way to address the role of alcohol in society and the potential risks and benefits associated with its consumption. To be sustainable, alcohol policies should recognize the role drinking plays in everyday life. They need to be practical and relevant to the lives of those they target and applicable to both populations and individuals across a variety of cultures.
The main objective of alcohol policies is to ensure the wellbeing of societies and their members by maximizing benefits and minimizing potential for harm that may be associated with drinking. To be effective, alcohol policies should rely on creating a balance between the rights of individuals and those of society in a number of different areas.
An integrative approach
Top Of Page
The ICAP Blue Book is intended as a guide to developing balanced alcohol policies and prevention measures. Positioned within an appropriate regulatory and governmental framework, policy development can involve a range of partners, each with a role to play and with particular rights and responsibilities. These partners include government and intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations and civil society, the private and business sector, public health specialists and health workers, researchers and academics, the media, consumers, and others with a stake in building balanced alcohol policies.
The ICAP Blue Book approach is based on three key elements:
- drinking patterns and their outcomes as a sound scientific basis for policy development;
- targeted interventions that address specific “at-risk” populations, potentially harmful contexts and drinking patterns;
- partnerships that allow the inclusion of the public and private sectors, the community, and civil society all working toward a common goal.
Building on these three pillars, the approach offered through the Blue Book is intended to address a range of different needs:
- measures aimed at individuals or groups who may be at particular risk for harm due to their drinking patterns or to certain factors or conditions;
- initiatives to discourage harmful drinking patterns and encourage patterns that are beneficial and contribute to quality of life;
- information about consumption patterns and outcomes, providing the basis for education efforts and balanced policy.
Using the ICAP Blue Book
Top Of Page
The ICAP Blue Book proposes a roadmap to alcohol policy development. It consists of a series of Modules, each addressing a particular policy area. Based on sound and balanced research evidence, they lay out the essential elements to be considered on a given topic. Included in each Module is a set of Policy Options—a menu of elements that can be used to tackle specific problem areas (for a compilation of Policy Options for a range of topics, see ICAP Policy Guide: Quick Reference Guide to the ICAP Blue Book). Inclusion of the Policy Options is intended to give the Blue Book flexibility, allowing it to be adapted in response to cultural and/or situational needs. The topics addressed in this section are:
- alcohol education
- life skills
- social norms marketing
- responsible hospitality
- “binge” drinking
- drinking and violence
- public order and drinking environments
- at-risk populations
- women and alcohol
- drinking and pregnancy
- young people and alcohol
- legal age limits
- drinking and driving
- blood alcohol concentration limits
- alcohol dependence and treatment
- early identification and brief intervention
- drinking guidelines
- standard drinks
- noncommercial alcohol
- drinking and the workplace
- alcohol and the elderly
- HIV/AIDS, high-risk behaviors, and drinking patterns
Annexes to the Blue Book offer supplemental materials on individual issues and policy development as a whole. They also include materials that may be used to complement educational approaches or reflect special areas for consideration.
Included in the Blue Book is a list of Targeted Interventions, a comprehensive annotated listing of approaches to reducing the harm around alcohol consumption that have been implemented around the world. Examples range from complex initiatives that are labor intensive and costly to simple interventions that can easily be applied where resources are scant. This section covers a number of areas addressed in the Blue Book Modules and provides contact information for obtaining additional resources and guidance on implementation.
Top Of Page
The ICAP Blue Book has been designed for diverse stakeholders, presenting a level of information that will not daunt those with little experience but will also satisfy those with a more complex level of knowledge. Readers wishing to explore an issue in greater detail are provided with a substantial list of references. Target audiences for the Blue Book materials include:
- plicy-makers and their advisors on alcohol and other health-related issues;
- legislators developing specific approaches around alcohol;
- local and community leaders seeking to address particular problems and reduce potential harm within the community;
- practitioners in the prevention field interested in developing initiatives based on proven practice;
- educators with a particular interest in health issues;
- medical and healthcare professionals and others who wish to address particular problems.
Top Of Page
The following is a list of experts who contributed to the development of the ICAP Blue Book in either an editorial capacity or to the production of its individual modules.
The Blue Book is not a consensus document. It was developed and prepared by ICAP. As a result, the recommendations it offers reflect the views of ICAP and not necessarily those of its contributors or of its sponsoring companies.
- Mr. Keith Evans, Consultant, Australia
- Dr. Marcus Grant, ICAP, USA
- Dr. Marjana Martinic, ICAP, USA
- Mr. Godfrey Robson, Consultant, U.K.
- Mr. Donald Blair, Consultant, Poland
- Ms. Kathleen Elsig, Global Road Safety Partnership, Switzerland
- Prof. Dwight Heath, Brown University, USA
- Ms. Elisabeth Holmgren, Consultant, USA
- Ms. Eleni Houghton, Consultant, USA
- Mr. Jeff Lee, Mentor Foundation, U.K.
- Dr. John Orley, Consultant, U.K.
- Dr. Stanton Peele, Consultant, USA
- Mr. Jim Peters, Responsible Hospitality Institute, USA
- Dr. Moira Plant, Alcohol and Health Research Centre, U.K.
- Dr. Brian Quigley, University at Buffalo, SUNY, USA
- Dr. Helene Raskin-White, Rutgers University, USA
- Prof. Ann Roche, Flinders University, Australia
- Ms. Amy West, Consultant, USA
The most current version of the Blue Book is available at www.icap.org. For further information, please contact:
International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP)
1519 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036, USA
Tel.: +1 202 986 1159
Fax: +1 202 986 2080