Resources for Public Health & Public Action Management Priorities
Public Action Management
By Pamela S. Erickson
January 24, 2023
In 2023, Public Action Management will be focusing on assisting prevention and public health professionals become more knowledgeable about the value of alcohol regulation as well as how to advocate for greater enforcement and better policies.
The aim is to ensure that alcohol regulation and policies are strong and applied in a way that is fair and even-handed.
While I will continue to focus on these efforts, I will no longer develop reports. Rather, I will act as a senior statesperson. This means working with local and state people dedicated to reduce harm from alcohol. The website, healthyalcoholmarket.com, will continue to be available at least through 2024. Downloads will still be free! The monthly newsletter will continue as long as financially feasible and may involve re-issuing previous newsletter articles which represent on-going issues.
I want to focus on finding and investing in strong leaders. Some of these may be brand new and others may be in the middle of their career. But I am mindful of the experience in Oregon. In the 1990’s, there were strong leaders at the state and local levels. There was an annual luncheon where accomplishments were acknowledged and new members were welcomed. You could always count on a presence at the state legislature. But, as with all professionals and volunteers, there is a finite amount of time for activism. Good leaders simply “aged out.” It wasn’t that they grew disillusioned, but they just retired from public advocacy.
So, I ask people to be mindful of the fact that today’s passionate leaders will not be around forever. For this reason, there is a continuous need to find and foster new leaders. New leaders need a basic understanding of what our alcohol regulations and policies try to do; the research which shows what is effective; and, how to go about advocacy.
Fortunately, there are a lot of free resources available for new and current leaders. Let me describe some of these:
www.nabca.org: This is a very comprehensive website. It is maintained by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. Located in the D.C. area, the association serves the “control states” (the 17 states and various local jurisdictions which own and control part of the alcohol market). This is a great place for basic knowledge of the US regulatory system. Most resources are free and generally applicable to all state regulatory systems. It can be accessed by going to the NABCA website, clicking on the Policy & Research tab, and clicking the “Alcohol Regulation 101” box on the left. This section has a lot information about the history, structure and three-tier system that an alcohol policy advocate must know. This website contains much more information than can be described here. Thus, I invite you to access the website and see what exists. Also, it is updated with a certain amount of regularity.
centerforalcoholpolicy.org: This is the only organization that regularly surveys the public about their support for alcohol regulation. Over the years this survey has revealed a very supportive public. So, it is critical to use this information as a way to counteract those that want to sell alcohol like any other product. This website also contains various reports on topics such as taxes, background checks, DUI and Fake ID’s. These reports are written by professionals with deep knowledge of the subject matter. The Center also has an essay contest whereby individuals are challenged to write about a question concerning alcohol regulation. Finally, the Center purchased the rights to Toward Liquor Control, a study designed to help states set up an alcohol regulatory scheme after Prohibition. Most states, in one way or another, followed the authors’ recommendations.
cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a lot of very readable fact sheets that identify alcohol harms. They define what is a “standard drink”, as well as what constitutes “excessive” and “moderate drinking.” They have these fact sheets formatted in a way that can be used as hand-outs for various groups.
While there are other resources, this list will get people started.