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Alcohol Misuse: Tackling the UK Epidemic

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2008
105 pages
This report from the British Medical Association's (BMA) Board of Science assists Great Britain's policymakers with strategic or operational responsibility for public health as they develop policies that promote a culture were alcoholic beverages are enjoyed safely.
The report first notes the prevalence of alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom. Although the majority of individuals consume alcohol in moderation, a significant proportion misused alcohol by drinking above the recommended guidelines. Of particular concern is the high level of binge drinking and heavy drinking among adolescents. Because the cost of alcohol abuse in the United Kingdom is substantial, both in terms of direct cost (hospital and criminal justice services) and indirect costs (loss of productivity and the impact on families and social network), the control of alcohol consumption at a national and international level is essential. This requires the implementation of strategies that are effective in reducing overall alcohol consumption levels in a general population, as well as targeted interventions aimed at specific populations who abuse alcohol and individuals who are dependent on it. This report proposes policies to reduce alcohol-related harms in the United Kingdom, based on their proven effectiveness under rigorous evaluation research. The proposed policies are intended to guide the development of components of a comprehensive strategy that addresses alcohol abuse through a broad range of tactics. These include the reduction of access to alcoholic beverages by controlling price and availability, the promotion of responsible retailing and industry practices in the advertising and sale of alcoholic beverages, measures to reduce drunk driving, education and health promotion, early intervention and treatment for alcohol abuse, and international cooperation in the control of factors that promote alcohol use. 257 references and appended descriptions of current British efforts to promote responsible alcohol consumption