Greenland strengthened its alcohol policy

Greenland´s Parliament, Inatsisartut, adopted a new alcohol policy yesterday (November 20, 2018) which includes a total ban on alcohol advertising and a regulation that alcoholic goods shall be kept separate from other goods in shops.

The final voting was supposed to take place last Thursday but was moved by the Health Committee that requested further postponement as they wanted to make a change concerning the sales times on Saturdays. In their view, these sales times should be the same in cities and villages. Their rationale was that it may happen that the villagers go out to sail to the cities to reach the opening hours of alcohol sales when sales in the villages are closed on Saturdays. Their proposal was to allow alcohol to be sold from 11.00 to 15.00 on Saturdays.

Mrs Agathe Fontain, Minister of Health and Nordic Cooperation explained the rationale for the policy change: “Information from the police, the health and social services and the Children’s Ombudsman clearly shows that we (Greenland) have a significant alcohol problem. Alcohol is more or less always involved in cases of violence, sexual assault and care neglect.”

“Furthermore, there is a connection between abuse, suicide attempts and suicide. The Youth Wellbeing Survey from 2011 shows that 60 percent of the girls and 40 percent of the boys in the age 15 to 17 have experienced one or more kinds of abuse in their own home.

Alcohol abuse is widespread in our society, and it has far-reaching consequences for the children and families who live with it. Alcohol destroys life for so many children to such an extent that they struggle to make life work as adults, and many of them end up as abusers,” minister Fontain added.

The policy was adopted by a large support as two major parties, Siumut and Inuit Attaqatiigit, as well as the Partii Naleraq, were behind these changes.


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