Swiss Alcohol Policy — “Model” or “Sonderfall”?
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Alcohol is not only an ordinary but the most easily available consumer commodity in Switzerland. The re-emergence of liberalism has led to the abolishment of many laws restricting alcohol availability. The globalization of the markets has significantly lowered the price of imported spirits and increased hard liquor consumption particularly among young people. In the minimally interventionist state the options for alcohol policy are restricted to information dissemination, educating the youth and to harm minimization without cutting down alcohol consumption. Alcohol policy should be judged by its impact in reducing alcohol problems. But the evidence is that those policy options that address economic and physical availability of alcoholic products are effective in reducing alcohol problems, whereas those policy options that address the responsibility of the individual and which privileged by neo-liberalism are largely ineffective. The Swiss Alcohol policy is neither a “model” nor a “Sonderfall” but simply a paradigm for the changing concern about the adverse consequences of drinking in times of neo-liberalism.
Key wordsalcohol policy history globalization neo-liberalism self-responsibility harm reduction
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