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  • Lauri Beekmann

Latvia’s health ministry pushes to limit alcohol ads

In order to reduce the prevalence of alcohol consumption and harm to public health, it is planned to introduce new restrictions on alcohol availability and advertising in the coming years, while improving the treatment and rehabilitation services of alcohol addiction. Alcohol consumption is increasing every year in Latvia, so it is important to limit its availability and to explain to society the negative impact of alcohol on health.

In a draft of its national alcohol strategy, the Latvian Health Ministry said it wants to completely ban alcohol advertisements on television, radio and the internet, as well as restricting advertising of alcohol discounts.

There is a similar practice in other countries, for example, last year alcohol advertising has been banned in Lithuania, stricter restrictions are also imposed in Estonia, such as banned lifestyle advertising and alcohol advertising in social media.

The plan also includes a course of action to limit the availability of alcoholic beverages and tighter controls, for example by prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages at service stations. On the other hand, it is planned to monitor more strictly that the alcohol is not sold to minors, as well as to control the movement of illegal alcohol.

It is also very important to expand outpatient and inpatient treatment in regions with alcohol dependence. At present, the distribution of access to narcological assistance in the country is not uniform, as most doctors focus on narcologists in Riga and its surroundings. At the same time, the number of first-time people with alcohol psychosis and other mental and behavioural disorders has increased due to alcohol use. It is also planned to work to improve access to rehabilitation.

At the same time, it is important to explain to the public, especially young people, pregnant women and future parents, the harmful effects of alcoholic beverages. Along with educational campaigns, it is planned that the labelling of alcoholic beverages will include information that encourages people not to drink alcohol.

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