Funding research and interventions to address the harms associated with alcohol use is a substantial challenge. Although alcohol-related harm has finally reached the awareness of many funding bodies, the resources available for countermeasures are pitifully small in comparison with the alcohol industry's advertising and lobbying budgets. In this context, the appearance of another source of funding is often welcomed by researchers and community organisations and it might be tempting to seek alcohol industry funding for a project despite the ethical risks of doing so. Like most university researchers and community organisations, we rely on short-term grants won from a small number of agencies in competition with our peers. The existence of bodies such as Drinkwise tempts researchers and community organisations to seek funding to address the very real alcohol-related problems in the community, placing them in an ethically risky situation. We encourage government to explicitly disassociate itself from Drinkwise and similar bodies, and as a matter of policy to fund organisations with a public health ethos and no conflict of interest. In addition, universities, community organisations and researchers should signal their unwillingness to validate Drinkwise and other SAPROs.
Drug and Alcohol Review Vol. 28, Issue 3, p. 324-326