This plenary session had particular character. Ten representatives of the research world briefly presented what science has to say on different aspects of alcohol policy. Major research-based generalizations from a variety of policy experiences were brought to the discussion. The panel's composition reflected the global map of alcohol studies; the group consisted of four people from English-speaking countries, four from northern Europe and the Nordic countries and two from the Mediterranean part of Europe. The session focused on population-orientated strategies including political and economic controls on the availability of alcohol, advertising and public information campaigns. There was discussion of drink driving measures, and of how individual treatment interventions relate to the broad field of public health. Contributions from the world of nutrition and tobacco control policy were also drawn into the debate.