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alcohol health alliance uk

Balance respond to Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

Posted 01/11/10

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, today (Monday, November 1) welcomed findings by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs which highlights the massive threat alcohol misuse poses our society.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Although we haven’t had the opportunity to investigate the criteria upon which this report is based, the findings provide sobering food for thought.

“By virtue of the fact that alcohol is legal, it’s widely viewed as acceptable and safe. Drunken incidents are often treated as badges of honour or the subject of entertaining stories. We need to turn this thinking around. Alcohol is very much a drug and its misuse can have terrible consequences for individuals, their families and society. Almost half of all violent crime and half of all domestic abuse is alcohol related. The north east has the highest rate of alcohol specific hospital admissions in the UK and we are witnessing an increase in deaths form alcohol related liver disease.

“To effectively reduce this damage, we really need to tackle the widespread availability of alcohol sold at pocket money prices. Research shows a clear link between low prices and increased consumption. A minimum price per unit of alcohol, which links alcohol price to its strength, increasing the cost of cheap, strong drink, needs to be introduced as part of a range of measures, including continued education and stricter legislation.”