The series of papers in this issue of Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy is a collection of work emanating from the June 2015 meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, held in Munich. The topic of “drinking cultures” was a consistently reflected-on theme throughout the conference; in part due to widespread reports of a reduction in levels of drinking across many western countries over the past ten years. In particular, significant decreases in the frequency and quantity of drinking among young people has been reported across more than 20 countries that have traditionally been conceptualised as both ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ societies (see also de Looze et al., 2015; Pennay, Livingston, & MacLean, 2015). Given the wide-ranging nature of declines in drinking across cultures, researchers are at a loss to explain what might be happening, with traditional explanations such as changes in policy, price and availability not being able to account for these shifts (Livingston, 2014; Pennay et al., 2015).
Amy Pennay 1 & Robin Room 1