This week Prime Minister David Cameron has called upon bars, supermarkets and the drinks industry in England to work harder at ensuring responsible drinking.
Currently, the NHS spends £2.7billion a year on dealing with alcohol-related conditions, which includes £1billion on treating drinkers who end up in A&E after a heavy drinking session on a night out.
The government will publish its alcohol strategy for England later this year, and so far there have been reports of considering “drunk tanks” (cells to hold people whilst they sober up), ‘booze buses’ such as those trialled in Soho and Norwich, or police officers in A&E.
At Spectrum Community Health, we welcome the need to raise awareness of the dangers of binge drinking to individuals their family and friends.
In addition and as part of their commitment to the Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, retailers, which include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Spar as well as other major names, have shown their support for the launch of the national ‘How Many Units In Your Drink?’ campaign. These stores will help give people a better understanding about how many units are in drinks, allowing them to make a more informed decision about what they purchase and consume.
We’re getting behind this and really want to encourage the supermarkets and other retailers to think more carefully about how they position and present alcohol. We work with vulnerable people on a daily basis whose lives have been severely affected by excessive alcohol consumption, and know that making people more aware about how much they are drinking and what harm this can do will have a definite positive impact.
Hopefully we will see more and more retailers taking a responsible approach to how they promote alcohol and the government’s future plans will detail an effective and realistic strategy on how to target this severe issue.