Alcohol's Harm to Others: Opportunities and Challenges in a Public Health Framework

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2018 Mar;79(2):239-243. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2018.79.239.


The emergent and growing body of research on alcohol's harm to others (AHTO), or secondhand effects of drinking, has important implications for prevention, intervention, and policy. Those victimized by other drinkers tend to favor effective alcohol policies more than their nonvictimized peers, but often a community's impulse will be to combat AHTO by targeting and stigmatizing individual heavy drinkers, rather than taking a public health approach to reducing harm. Here we discuss opportunities and challenges in selecting ways of reducing AHTO. We make a case for adopting joint public health and individual approaches to reduce AHTO.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications
  • Harm Reduction
  • Humans
  • Public Health*