No quick fix for alcohol misuse says Swanswell, as government launches new alcohol strategy

23 March 2012

Tackling alcohol-related harm is everyone’s responsibility and not something the government can deal with on its own, says Swanswell.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the government’s new Alcohol Strategy, released today (Friday 23 March 2012).

A minimum price of 40 pence per unit of alcohol, stricter advertising rules and reviewing alcohol guidelines are some of the proposals announced in a strategy regarded as ‘the biggest health intervention since the Labour government’s smoking ban’.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We certainly welcome today’s strategy as a serious attempt to steer society away from alcohol misuse; it’s a case of seeing what action comes from this moving forward.

Minimum pricing is only one aspect of tackling how accessible alcohol is, so we’re welcoming a proposed government consultation on ending multi-buy deals too but it needs to go further by considering other marketing aspects such as place and the product itself.

The strategy also recognises the importance of support for parents who have an influential role in their children’s lives, especially when it comes to alcohol, and promises guidance will be available through a number of community organisations.

‘Netmums is one of those mentioned and is one of the sites we already work closely with to provide alcohol and drug misuse advice and information.

Measures detailed in the strategy are of course welcome but society has to accept responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse too – it’s not something any government can tackle on its own and there’s no quick fix.

If everyone did their bit, it would make a huge difference – it doesn’t have to be big, step changes, just little ones.

Think about whether you should buy more alcohol that you actually need just because it’s on offer or whether having a couple of drinks every night after work is such a good idea.

‘Better education, clearer messaging and more investment in services such as those provided by Swanswell are also positive ways to help create a world free from problem alcohol – and drug – use, something we can only achieve by working together.’

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