The Alcohol Health Alliance: the emergence of an advocacy coalition to stimulate policy change

Article English OPEN
Thom, Betsy ; Herring, Rachel ; Thickett, Anthony ; Duke, Karen L.
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1057/bp.2015.50
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: health care economics and organizations

This paper provides an account of the emergence and early development of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), a coalition of organizations including medical bodies, charities and alcohol health campaigners. Launched in 2007, the AHA aimed to re-frame awareness of alcohol consumption and related harms, to gain greater policy saliency for health compared to criminal justice priorities, and to shift policy towards adopting a population approach as compared to a targeted approach to intervention. The strategies used by the AHA to mobilize support and re-frame understanding of the alcohol problem, were successful in the short term. The alliance benefited from their links with established powerful institutions that helped them secure a strong presence within the policy arena and in the media, not least by forging relationships with political allies. However, in the longer term, it may be difficult to maintain a position of strength and to combat pre-existing entrenched relationships that favour competing alternative perceptions of the alcohol problem and the appropriate policy response.
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