Strategies to Address Alcohol Problems

Title: Strategies to Address Alcohol Problems

Year of Publication: 2005

Author: Diyanath Samarasinghe

Subject: Strategy for global, national and local community needs regarding alcohol problems.

Summary: There is scope, given the global village, for a singal individual to impact on structures of enormous size and power. A network of people, a group or an organisation can indeed achieve much. To succeed, they need to be imaginative and able to learn through doing. Learning is fostered when there is a model for understanding, for putting things together, and for generating ideas to put to test. Much effort is wastedfor lack of a broad grasp.

Clarity increases through continued discussion and debate. Collecting information on things that have been tried, and the results of such trials, improves understsnding on what needs now to be done. All strategy is tentative and must evolve as information flows in. And here lies a catch. In the specialised world that different individuals occupy today, the thinkers and visionaries, the gatherers of information, the researcheres and planneres all occupy worlds far from those of the motivators and the doers. This hinders development. Relevant strategy must evolve in the hands of those who are working. This does not happen enough.

People working with individuals and families affected by the alcohol must also become strategists. They must be encouraged not only to recognise the different options for helping but also to examine critically what communities generate as solutions. Only when can they influence decisions at the broader level.

Action at the grassroots is more vibrant in the more disadvantaded parts of the world. New ways of looking at problems, and solutions, emerge from experiments at the gressroots. These have a hard time making it to the real strategy world. Many of those who specialise in strstegy concentrate on national alcohol policies. But the date they use in decisions at thet level are of a different quality from those that come directly from people. We must all work hard to get the wisdom of the grassroots to add to thet which resides wit experts. This isn’t easy as gressroots wisdom is mostly generated in the economically underprivilaged world.