Methods: The Global Drug Survey (GDS) is a large anonymous cross-sectional web survey. This study included data from 77,974 respondents who reported alcohol consumption in the last month (64.2% male) recruited online during November and December 2017 (GDS2018). Seven health messages relating to liver disease, cancer, heart disease, calories, violence, taking two days off, and myths about benefits of drinking were presented. Respondents were asked if the information was new to them, if they believed it, if it was personally relevant, and if it would change their drinking. The same questions are currently asked to evaluate 6 cannabis-related health messages as part of GDS2019 and these results will be included in the presentation too.
Results: The message that cancer was associated with alcohol use was the least well known, and this label had the potential to encourage almost 40.3% of those using alcohol to think about drinking less. In the US, 29.5% of people who used alcohol in the past year indicated that they would like to reduce their alcohol use next year but only 1 in 10 would like help to achieve this goal. The label suggesting there were few health benefits associated with alcohol was believed by the smallest proportion (62.2%) of respondents. The message about violence was rated as the most personally relevant label (40.1%).
Discussion: These findings support the call for mandatory health warning labels on alcohol. Although information may not be sufficient by itself for behavior change, health warning labels could play a role as part of a broader package of measures to reduce alcohol related harms. More work is needed to explore the optimal type of messages and images that will impact behavior the most and thus help to reduce harm related to alcohol or other drug use.