Build public health capacity in alcoholism prevention

In Serbia, the adverse impact of alcohol on population health is more severe than from all illegal drugs combined, making prevention of alcohol abuse a public health priority. Nonetheless, as the the prevalence of the abuse and misuse of alcohol increases, the number of patients referred for treatment in specialized institutions is going down. This inconsistency is attributed not only to the high level of tolerance for alcohol consumption in Serbia but also to a lack of understanding of alcohol abuse among practitioners in primary-care settings.

The Institute of Public Health wants to develop technical capacity to alcohol abuse and related mental health issues using integrated approaches for both population-based and individual risk reduction. A new unit will take on the study, monitoring, and prevention of alcohol-related illness and injury events through research, development, and provision of technical assistance.

The starting point for this capacity-building effort is a training program in identification and diagnosis of alcoholism for practitioners in primary-care settings.