19.07.12 Addaction responds to Commons Health Committee report on Alcohol
Today, the Commons Health Committee has raised some important points about the Government's Alcohol strategy. As it has stated, tackling alcohol related crime (and other social problems) is a very important issue.
We wholeheartedly agree that the negative impact of alcohol goes way beyond crime and disorder. It’s a major public health issue. It can fragment families and destroy relationships. It ruins people's health, sometimes with tragic consequences. The latest official figures* showed a rise in the number of alcohol related deaths in the UK with alcoholic liver disease behind the majority of them.
As the Committee has concluded in its own report, Addaction firmly believes that the best way to tackle each of these problems is through the provision of timely, specialist treatment. Take our new Reach Out programme as an example. Set up at the beginning of the year, it is already tackling alcohol misuse by working with an addict's entire family, getting them into recovery and repairing important relationships with their children. We also run education and training programmes to help schools and health professionals identify these kinds of families, and get help to them at the earliest possible opportunity.
Addaction agrees with the committee that the Responsibility Deal is integral part of tackling this countries relationship with alcohol. Our own experiences of working in partnership with retailers and suppliers has brought about a mutually beneficial relationship.
However, to ensure that these types of programmes become widespread, Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of Addaction says ‘we need to ensure that a combined commitment is made to provide accurate, timely and accessible alcohol education, advice and information, long-term investment in high quality early intervention and support services with families and communities, alongside introducing minimum pricing on alcohol and reviewing current licensing laws.’
* Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom, (Office of National Statistics, 2010)