A new hard-hitting report ‘Alcohol misuse: tackling the UK epidemic’ launched today by the BMA calls on the government to show leadership and implement a full range of effective control policies that will reduce the burden of alcohol misuse.
“Recent governments have worked too closely with the alcohol industry and have pursued policies of deregulation and liberalisation regarding alcohol control” said BMA Head of Science and Ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson. She added: “As doctors we see first hand how alcohol misuse destroys lives. It causes family breakdowns, is a major factor in domestic violence, ruins job prospects, is often related to crime and disorderly behaviour and it kills. Alcohol misuse is related to over 60 medical conditions including heart and liver disease, diabetes, strokes and mental health problems. The government approach has led to increased consumption levels and alcohol-related problems and demonstrates a failure in the political drive to improve public health and order.
“Alcohol misuse not only costs lives it also costs the country many millions of pounds. The NHS spends millions every year on treating and dealing with alcohol problems and the criminal justice system also spends similarly large amounts dealing with alcohol-related and drink-driving offences. The BMA is very worried about alcohol consumption among young people, particularly young girls. It is shocking that in Europe, the UK’s teenagers are most likely to be heavy drinkers.”
Key recommendations from the report include (a full list can be found on page seven of the report):
- Higher taxes on alcoholic drinks and this increase should be proportionate to the amount of alcohol in the product.
- An end to irresponsible promotional activities like happy hours and two-for-one offers.
- Standard labels should be displayed on all alcoholic products that clearly state alcohol units, recommended guidelines for consumption and a warning message advising that exceeding these guidelines may cause the individual and others harm.
- The legal limit for the level of alcohol permitted while driving should be reduced from 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml throughout the UK.
To access the full report please click here