Thursday, 8 December 2011

Alcohol abuse

Last weekend I came across several newspaper articles about the effects of alcohol abuse.

Ministers pledge to stop booze ads aimed at young
Officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in London have reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that alcoholic drinks are not targeted at young people.  'It is imperative that we have robust, evidence-based alcohol advertising rules in place to ensure appropriate levels of consumer protection, especially for children and young people.'
The pledge comes after calls from doctors to introduce new curbs on alcohol advertising.  In an open letter to The Guardian, a team of consultants said people in Britain were facing an 'epidemic' of liver disease caused by a binge-drinking culture and cheap booze.
Figures showed medics in north-east England were struggling with a 400 per cent increase in the number of hospital admissions for people in their early thirities with alcoholic liver disease.  In the open letter the consultants, mostly liver specialists and gastoenterologists, blamed the problem on Britain having created 'an excessively pro-alcohol culture by selling alcohol for pocket money prices.'
[Irish News 3 December 2011]

Rise in morning-after drink-drive accidents
Morning after drink-drive accidents have risen by 60 per cent because drivers remain ignorant about how long alcohol stays in their system.  Night-time crashes have fallen over the past ten years as drink-drive campaign messages get through but analysis of the official statistics shows that 18.2 per cent of all accidents caused by drink-driving in 2010 occurred between 5 am, when many people would be driving to work, and 1 pm.  This compares with 11.4 per cent in 2000 and only 6.9% in 1990. 
Hunter Abbott, the managing director of AlcoSense said, 'If you drank four pints of medium strong beer or four large glasses of wine between 9 pm and midnight, it could take as long as 14.8 hours for the alcohol to leave your system.  You could easily still be over the limit at 11 am the following day.' 
[Daily Telegraph  2 December 2011]

Surge in cocaine use has been side effect of 24-hour drinking, says drugs officer
The drugs coordinator for Kent Police said that the introduction of 24-hour drinking led to a rise in cocaine use so people can 'stay awake' .   The most common excuse for taking the Class A drug since 2005 has been to not fall asleep or 'keep going on a night out'.  PC Adrian Parsons also disclosed that up to one in ten bank notes, when tested, was found to contain traces of cocaine, compared with around four per cent six years ago - a signal of the rising popularity of the drug. 
[Daily Telegraph 2 December 2011]

Across the United Kingdom there is a serious and growing problem of alcohol abuse and it is causing terrible damage to the health of many people.  That situation must be addressed and we do well to listen to the advice of those doctors and other experts who deal with the effects of alcohol abuse.

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