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Contemporary Drug Problems

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DOI: 10.1177/009145090803500102


High levels of wine, beer, and spirits consumption have historically characterized Slovenian drinking culture. The geographical location of the country provides an ideal environment for wine production, historical ties with the Austro-Hungarian Empire contribute to the tradition of beer drinking, and the custom of home distilling has resulted in a considerable level of spirits consumption. This combination of factors contributes to the high level and cultural acceptance of alcohol consumption in Slovenia. Alcohol-related harm in Slovenia was recognized as a problem as early as 1834, and since then Slovenian public health experts have implemented various programs and policies in an attempt to reduce alcohol-related harm and alcohol consumption in general. A report published by Slovenian public health experts and presented to the Slovenian Ministry of Health in the late 1990s showed that alcohol consumption and related harm were among the highest in the European region, and that there was a need for a policy to reduce consumption and alcohol-related harm in the country. This article outlines the events leading up to this policy. Although business interests and some politicians and public health experts opposed the policy, it was passed by the Slovenian National Assembly on January 28, 2003. Descriptive data revealing a subsequent decrease in the rate of registered alcohol consumption and in deaths due to liver disease, cirrhosis, and suicide may represent preliminary indicators of the effective implementation of the Act.


Accepted version. Contemporary Drug Problems, Vol. 35, No. 1 (March 2008): 5-35. DOI. © 2008 SAGE Publications. Used with permission.

Aleksandra J. Snowden was affiliated with Indiana University at the time of publication.

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