While reading the newspapers last Friday in Hillsborough Castle, I came across a series of reports about alcohol abuse.
The headline in the Daily Telegraph was ‘Middle aged, middle class and most likely to drink every day’. The Daily Express reported on a similar line that ‘Professionals are drinking the working classes under the table’. It had another report on ‘Children who hit the bottle’, which stated that every day 35 children are admitted to hospital after drinking enough alcohol to make them seriously ill. Meanwhile the Belfast Telegraph reported that ‘Alcohol-related deaths double due to binge drinking’. The number of alcohol-related deaths in Britain has more than doubled since the early 1990s, from 4.023 in 1992 to 9,031 in 2008.
It is clear that the problem of alcohol abuse is increasing in our society and that the effects of alcohol abuse are increasing, with more deaths and more illness. Such is the power and influence of the drinks industry that governments have been reluctant to address the issue in a comprehensive and coherent way but as the evidence builds up so will the pressure for action.