Cash boost is key to battling drink culture

The Government will only be able to tackle the UK’s binge drinking culture
if it starts to match the drink trade’s huge investment in alcohol promotion,
the charity Alcohol Concern has warned.

Drink companies spend about £800m a year on marketing – eight times the sum
spent by the Government on tackling drink-related health problems.

The Government has unveiled an ‘interim analysis’ ahead of its long-awaited
National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy. The analysis has found that the cost
to the economy of alcohol-related lost working days is £1.7bn to £2.1bn a year.

The cost of alcohol-related harm to the NHS is £6bn and one in three
attendances at A&E are because of alcohol, at a cost of £500m a year.

Also, there are 530 drink-driving deaths a year, a total of one in six of
the total road deaths, and 80,000 arrests for drunkenness and disorder a year.

When it comes to binge drinking, the report revealed that 8 million people
drink up to twice the weekly recommended limits, a further 2 million knock back
more than twice the recommended weekly limits, and 1.4 million people consume
more than twice the recommended daily limit in a single session.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said: "What is required is
to address the £200m shortfall in money needed by help-giving services, along
with much greater investment in alcohol education and early interventions for
people heading for a drink problem."

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