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Friday, 18th February 2011

UK: Making Alcohol a Health Priority

UK: Making alcohol a health priority

From the Foreword:

Despite an increasing awareness of its dangers among both the media and the medical profession, alcohol misuse remains a serious and growing public health issue in the UK.


In the past 60 years, the average intake of alcohol per person in the UK has risen steadily, from 5 litres a year in the 1950s, to over 11 litres a year in 2007. Over 10m adults in England now drink more than the recommended daily limit, with 2.6m of them drinking more than twice that. There has also been a dramatic rise in drinking among women, with heavy drinking increasing by almost a third in the decade prior to 2008.


The risks of drinking to excess are well established. Long term alcohol abuse can lead to numerous health problems, including liver and kidney disease, acute and chronic pancreatitis, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, stroke, foetal alcohol syndrome and several cancers.


This places a huge burden on the NHS. The number of hospital admissions due to alcohol misuse was 1.1 million in 2009/10, a 100% increase since 2002/03. If the rise continues unchecked, by the end of the current Parliament a staggering 1.5 million people will be admitted to hospital every year as a result of drinking.


The problem is not limited purely to healthcare. The damage that drinking causes echoes throughout society, contributing to 1.2 million incidents of violent crime a year, 40% of domestic violence cases and 6% of all road casualties.Alcohol misuse is now estimated to cost the NHS £2.7 billion a year, almost twice the equivalent figure in 2001. But the cost of alcohol to society as a whole is even greater, estimated to stand at £17 - 22 billion, and by some estimates is as high as £55 billion.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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