The Alcohol Issues Podcast is an original production by Movendi International. It’s a show about current alcohol issues of global importance. Through in-depth conversations with policy makers, community leaders and scientists, we explore alcohol policy issues, discuss landmark scientific studies, and expose the alcohol industry.

The Alcohol Issues Podcast is a unique resource to stay updated about latest developments in the field of alcohol policy and science. We make complex issues more easily understandable and drive the global conversation about modern alcohol policy solutions.

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All episodes of season 1

Conversation with Kristina Sperkova, Movendi International

For the 20th episode of the Alcohol Issues Podcast – another Special Episode – host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Kristina Sperkova back on the podcast.

We use this Special Episode to reflect on the recent joint event during the 74th World Health Assembly about alcohol policy, COVID-19 and building back better.

The event brought together high-level decision-makers from member states, WHO regions and opinion leaders from civil society and intergovernmental organizations to discuss the role of alcohol prevention and control for building back better in the coming months and years.

In this special episode, host Maik Dünnbier talks with Kristina about key insights and the most important lessons that were discussed during the event.

Kristina reflects on the analysis that each of the speakers shared and what she thinks the highlights were. More than a year into the global pandemic, we aimed to take stock of global and regional experiences and knowledge around alcohol and the coronavirus crisis.

Conversation with Michele Cecchini, OECD

For the 19th episode of the Alcohol Issues Podcast host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Michele Checchini. He is the senior health policy analyst and project leader public health at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In episode 19, host Maik Dünnbier and Michele crunch some of the most significant numbers in the report. This means that Michele and Maik discuss alcohol consumption and harm trends before and during the pandemic.

Michele puts the economic figures in context and perspective to illustrate the magnitude of alcohol harm and how it affects health system functioning and the overall economy.

The report makes a compelling case – driven by astounding economic data – for upscaling investment in alcohol policy solutions. Maik talks with Michele about these policy measures. He explains the triple dividend of tackling alcohol harm and what the 4Ps Package is all about.

Conversation with Alison Douglas, Alcohol Focus Scotland

For the 18th episode of the Alcohol Issues Podcast host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Alison Douglas, the Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland.

In episode 18, Alison and Maik take a deep dive into the historic and trailblazing minimum unit pricing policy in Scotland. They discuss how it works and why it was needed in the first place.

Alison also explains how it is going after three years of MUP implementation. What is the evidence in terms of alcohol consumption, alcohol harms and public support for the alcohol floor price?

Host Maik Dünnbier also used the opportunity to ask Alison about lessons learned across the entire period, including the advocacy struggle to get the MUP adopted, then defend it against alcohol industry litigation and then to get it implemented properly. So, Alison shares a few highlights in the wider historic perspective.

This conversation with Alison provides deeper understanding of how policy can shape norms and culture

Conversation with Sheila Gilheany, Alcohol Action Ireland

For the 17th episode of the Alcohol Issues Podcast host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Dr Sheila Gilheany to discuss the Public Health Alcohol Act in Ireland. They pay special attention to the recent news of the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing in Ireland.

In episode 17, Sheila and Maik talk about the alcohol norm in Ireland and how the alcohol industry fuels cognitive dissonance, misconceptions and inertia, despite pervasive alcohol harm.

And yet the country adopted a comprehensive set of policies in the Public Health Alcohol Act. Sheila explains how that happened and she shares inspiring lessons learnt.

Maik and Sheila also talk in more detail about the different provisions of the alcohol law and how they work.

Conversation with Jeff Collin and Nason Maani

For the 16th episode of the Alcohol Issues Podcast host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Professor Jeffrey Collin and Dr Nason Maani.

They are two of the authors of a very timely, important and high profile scientific commentary published in February in BMJ Global Health.

Their commentary is called The New WHO Foundation — Global Health Deserves Better and has received much attention, especially among civil society and community groups dealing with the effects of health harmful industries interfering in public health policy making, particularly in the areas of Non-Communicable Diseases and their risk factors.

In episode 16, the conversation focuses on commercial determinants of health and the World Health Organization, zooming in on conflicts of interest at the new WHO Foundation and shedding light on the broader context of the corporate objectives of health harmful industries such as Big Alcohol and Big Junk Food.

In the conversation, Jeff, Nason and Maik discuss the topic of global health governance, the importance of WHO’s independence and the challenges posed by commercial determinants of health.

Conversation with Evan Blecher, WHO

For the 15th episode of the Alcohol Issues Podcast host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Evan Blecher from the World Health Organization.

This in depth and far ranging conversation with Dr Evan Blecher is focusing on pro-health taxes and specifically the design, potential and window of opportunity for better alcohol taxation.
In episode 15, Evan and Maik go deep into the weeds of health taxes, focusing more specifically on alcohol excises taxes. They discuss different terms for health taxes and what they reveal about the purpose and potential of health taxes.

Given the moment in time, where a public health crisis and an economic crisis are affecting people, communities and societies, WHO is working to support more countries to develop evidence-based alcohol taxes in order to make the most of the current window of opportunity to advance health taxes in general and alcohol taxes in particular to come out of the crisis healthier and stronger.

Conversation with Paula O’Brien, Tim Stockwell and Robin Room

In this episode host Maik Dünnbier talks with three researchers about their latest editorial, what ensues is a far ranging conversation about specific alcohol policy issues at the World Health Organization, alcohol industry regulation, World Trade Organization issues and the future of alcohol policy on the global level.

Together with Kate Vallance, Paula O’Brien, Tim Stockwell, and Robin Room wrote an editorial in the latest Addiction Journal with the title: “WHO Should Not Support Alcohol Industry Co‐Regulation of Public Health Labelling”.

In episode 14, they discuss the editorial in detail to explore the reasons why the alcohol industry should not be invited to co-regulate alcohol labelling. The conversation also dives into potential and possibilities for improvements to the global governance of alcohol that the three experts envision and hope for. They also explore the question: What does it mean to remove the alcohol industry from their position of influence?

Conversation with Shehara Cooray and Kristina Sperkova

In this episode we are revealing Big Alcohol strategies to undermine the development of a new WHO global alcohol action plan.
Host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Shehara Cooray. And back on the podcast is also Kristina Sperkova.

Most recently, the World Health Organization published all submissions made to a web-based consultation from late last year about the development of a global alcohol action plan.

Shehara analyzed 16 submissions of major alcohol industry front groups from around the world.

In episode 13 we discuss the findings of the analysis and put the claims of Big Alcohol into context and discuss what the alcohol industry is actually up to.

Conversation with Dr Sheila Gilheany, Alcohol Action Ireland and Silent Voices

This is a special edition for CoA Week 2021, with Dr Sheila Gilheany for an in-depth conversation about the situation of children living in families with alcohol problems, the size of the problem and concrete solutions.

For episode 12 Sheila and Maik discuss Alcohol Action Ireland’s work to raise awareness and improve the conditions of children growing up in families with alcohol problems. They are running the much needed initiative Silent Voices that works to end the silence around the impact of family alcohol problems on children.

Sheila shares deep insights into the extent of the problem in Ireland and talks about what life is like for vulnerable children. a set of big and small solutions. She also shares her vision of how the rights of vulnerable children can be much better protected through concrete alcohol policy and other interventions.

Conversation with Andy Moore, Hello Sunday Morning and Richard Piper, Alcohol Change UK with comments from Kristina Sperkova

In this special edition, the Alcohol Issues Podcast host Maik Dünnbier is joined by Kristina Sperkova, the President of Movendi International and the moderator of the Sober Inspiration Talk with Andy and Richard. Kristina and Maik picked some highlights from the original conversation that they want to share. And they discuss some topics that Richard and Andy raise in more detail and depth.

This is a special edition for Dry February. As people continue Dry January and the Dry February challenge is in full swing, we bring you highlights from an inspiring conversation with Andy Moore, CEO of Hello Sunday Morning, and Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, the charity running Dry January. It was such an inspiring and insightful conversation that we want to bring some highlights back and dive even deeper into the topic.

Conversation with researchers Frida Dangardt and Tim Stockwell

For this special edition of the Alcohol Issues podcast we welcome Frida Dangardt and Tim Stockwell for an in-depth conversation about alcohol issues related to COVID-19.

For episode 10 host Maik Dünnbier discusses key findings and unique insights into a brand new and ground-breaking report called “Alcohol and the coronavirus pandemic: individual, societal, and policy perspectives”. Frida and Tim are part of a team of world-renowned researchers in the field of alcohol harm and policy, led by Harold Holder. This group has written influential research reports in the series “Alcohol and Society” every year since 2013.

This year’s report is a bit different and a bit more special. It deals with a subject that we are right now all living in: the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s the first systematic assessment of individual, societal and policy issues related to alcohol and COVID-19.

Conversation with Kristina Sperkova, Movendi International

An in-depth conversation with Kristina Sperkova, the President of Movendi International about alcohol harm as a feminist issue, the burden alcohol places on women and why the Women’s Rights movement has so far fail to respond adequately.

Episode 09 is a special edition episode, marking the end of another 16 Days of Activism to raise awareness about and promote action towards eliminating violence against women. We skip the weekly alcohol issues highlights to completely focus on the in-depth conversation to take a deep-dive into alcohol issues through a gender and Women’s Rights lens. With Kristina we discuss alcohol‘s role in the epidemic of violence against women. It’s a broad topic that does not receive the attention it deserves. Kristina shares her analysis of how and why the Women’s Rights movement is failing in this regard.

Conversation with Maristela Monteiro, PAHO

An in-depth conversation with Maristela Monteiro, the Senior Advisor on Alcohol and Substance Abuse of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). With Maristela we discuss alcohol consumption and harm in the Americas region, including alcohol and COVID-19. We also talk about alcohol policy making in the region, the success stories, the challenges and obstacles, as well as the way forward. 

Episode 08 highlights three alcohol issues. In policy news: the role of ultra-cheap alcohol in the UK’s heavy alcohol burden; and we explore similar stories from different countries about the need to strengthen services for people with alcohol problems during the pandemic. In the latest science digest: a new study that examined the impact of alcohol policy development in former Soviet Union countries over the last 30 years. And in the Big Alcohol Watch: corporate capture of the government in the Northern Territory in Australia.

Conversation with researchers Nason Maani and May van Schalkwyk

An in-depth conversation with Nason Maani and May van Schalkwyk, two of the authors of the highly important and innovative research article “Dark Nudges and Sludge in Big Alcohol: Behavioral Economics, Cognitive Biases, and Alcohol Industry Corporate Social Responsibility”.

Episode 07 also highlights two alcohol issues that we think deserve special attention. In policy and science news, we talk about the latest Global Burden of Disease study, its key findings and what they mean for alcohol policy-making. And in the Big Alcohol Watch we discuss evidence from Ireland about the child rights harm due to alcohol and the delay in implementing the Public Health Alcohol Act.

Conversation with Nina Renshaw, NCD Alliance

An in-depth conversation with Nina Renshaw, the Policy and Advocacy Director at the NCD Alliance, discussing alcohol’s as well as the alcohol industry’s role in the global tsunami that are non-communicable diseases and their major risk factors.
Episode 06 sheds light on three alcohol issues of special attention. In policy news: Canada during COVID-19 and how rising alcohol use is fueling mental health problems and what all that says about the country’s alcohol policy situation. In this week’s Science Digest: new research showing just how much healthcare spending could be prevented through policy action on health risk factors such as alcohol. And in the Big Alcohol Watch: how Big Alcohol uses the illusion of small-scale alcohol production in the Swedish countryside to lobby for the undoing of the successful Swedish alcohol policy model.

Conversation with Nijole Gostautaite Midttun, NTAKK

An in-depth with Nijole Gostautaite Midttun, the President of the Lithuanian Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition (NTAKK), about Lithuania as one of the most remarkable success stories of alcohol policy-making in the world.
Episode 05 also discusses four new weekly highlights regarding alcohol issues in policy, science and industry revelations. In policy news, we talk about the first indications of success with Minimum Unit Pricing in Wales and we discuss what happens to alcohol harm when Uber comes to town. In this week’s Science Digest we look at new research into risk factors for adolescent alcohol use and trajectories of alcohol harm in adult life. In the Big Alcohol Watch we expose how Coca-Cola is pushing into alcohol markets around the world, targeting youth and women.

Conversation with Caterina Giorgi, FARE

An in-depth conversation with Caterina Giorgi of FARE about their trailblazing advocacy success to secure mandatory pregnancy warning labeling in Australia and New Zealand.

Episode 04 also provides latest weekly highlights regarding alcohol issues in policy, science and industry revelations. In policy news, we talk about Sweden’s plan to raise alcohol taxes; and we take a look at two European countries’ alcohol policy during the second wave of COVID-19 infections. This week’s Science Digest and Big Alcohol Watch overlap, meaning that we are discussing two new compelling studies that help expose alcohol industry strategies.

Conversation with Dudley Tarlton, UNDP

An in-depth conversation with Dudley Tarlton, program specialist for health and development at the United Nations Development Program, UNDP. It’s an insightful conversation that provides unique perspectives on alcohol as obstacle to development and some inspiring ideas how to tackle it.

Episode 03 discusses the weekly highlights of alcohol issues in policy: the alcohol burden in the UK; the science digest highlight: alcohol use and brain damage; and in the Big Alcohol Exposed segment we dive into a new report about how health harmful industries exploit COVID-19 for marketing purposes.

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If you are interested, please e-mail Kristina Sperkova, the President of Movendi International.