Calls to tackle binge drinking are ‘welcome small steps’, Swanswell says

15 February 2012

Swanswell believes fresh calls for the drinks industry, supermarkets and bars to do more to tackle binge drinking are ‘welcome small steps in the right direction’.

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that David Cameron is set promise to tackle the ‘scandal’ of drunkenness that costs the NHS £2.7 billion a year.

During a visit to a hospital in north-east England later, the Prime Minister’s also set to suggest the use of US-inspired ‘drunk tanks’ or cells that house people overnight until they sober up.

It’s expected that an increase in the number of police officers on accident and emergency wards is also among the ‘solutions’ being put forward to help tackle alcohol-related harm and the increasing cost to health services.

In the coming months, the government will publish its alcohol strategy for England with higher ‘minimum’ pricing set to be among the proposals.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘The suggestions set to be announced today are welcome small steps in the right direction .

Alcohol-related harm costs society anywhere between £17 billion and £22 billion a year to deal with, of which £2.7 billion is the cost to the NHS.

‘Measures such as these are at least a start in dealing with the short term problem, as long as those who find themselves in ‘drunk tanks’ are offered advice and support to stop drinking, so that they don’t end up back there.

However, binge drinking is only one aspect of alcohol misuse and we hope there will also be solid proposals that tackle problems over the longer term.

Better alcohol education and more investment in treatment services are just two other ways to give people the knowledge and support to understand the effects of alcohol and the harm it causes, so they can make informed decisions about their own drinking.

It’s important to stress that alcohol misuse is not something the government or drinks industry can tackle on its own, we as a society have a part to play, so we must all recognise what we have to do to enjoy a world free from problem alcohol use.’

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