Government commits to national alcohol strategy

Maddy Lawson | May 2018 | 5 minutes

In early May the Government committed to implementing a new, national strategy on alcohol

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of the charity formed by the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK, said:

"The announcement of a national alcohol strategy is a real step forward. Alcohol harm is a massive issue affecting all of us, the most vulnerable members of society most of all, and as such requires a co-ordinated national response. We have called for a national strategy over many months, and it’s brilliant to see the Government listening.

"Now, it’s vital that we all work together to help the Government get this strategy right. The strategy must address the wide variety of alcohol harms, from health problems to family breakdown, and the range of people affected by harmful drinking – not only those impacted by alcohol-related violence. While violence is an important issue, to make a real impact a national strategy must include measures to prevent people from drinking harmfully to start with, support for families facing alcohol-related problems, and investment in treatment services.

"Also important is ensuring that the current emphasis on alcohol-related violence does not lead to further stigmatisation of people who need support, which risks turning people away from the help they need. Besides that, the relationship between alcohol and violence is complex: not all heavy drinkers are violent, and not all alcohol-fuelled violence is carried out by people who drink at harmful levels.

"This is one of the greatest opportunities to tackle the harm caused by alcohol that we have seen for years. Now it’s time for the Government to make it count by producing a well-evidenced, effective and targeted strategy that ensures that vulnerable people can and do get the help they need."