News roundup: August 2018

Maddy Lawson | September 2018 | 9 minutes

August's monthly roundup from the Alcohol Policy UK blog.

Each month we publish a news roundup from the Alcohol Policy UK blog. Since the July roundup…

In the news

Adrian Chiles documentary explores ‘Drinkers Like Me’

'Drinkers Like Me', a documentary by TV presenter Adrian Chiles, was widely reported on after it aired on BBC 2. During the programme Chiles explored his drinking, and was shocked to find he was often drinking up to 100 units a week. A Guardian review praised the show as an insight into the 'complicated, conflicted world of boozing', whilst the Telegraph described it as a 'sobering, fascinating and disarmingly honest look at social drinking'.

Major study suggests ‘no safe dose’ of alcohol, and responses

A barrage of media reporting followed a major study examining the risks of alcohol consumption, resulting in many headlines stating there was 'no safe level' - BBC. However the research prompted many to call for caution and balance considering the generally very low levels of risk of moderate drinking for most adults. Our response is here. The study also included consumption levels across 195 countries with the Telegraph reporting that 'British women are now among the world's biggest drinkers'.

Drink drive casualties at a four-year high

Drink drive casualties are at a 'four year high' according to the Guardian. The story follows recent figures from the Department of Transport which show an increase of 7% on the previous year. See APUK analysis.

Pub landlords point to cheap supermarket alcohol as a reason for pub closures

Pub landlords in the North East have said cheap supermarket alcohol is leading to pub closures following a survey by Balance North East, who say 70% of alcohol sold in the North East now bought from supermarkets and off licenses. They say that cuts in alcohol duty are not helping pubs. Morning Advertiser. According to CAMRA 18 pubs a week are closing, with more people choosing to drink at home. BBC news.

Reports of airline related alcohol incidents continue

Further reports of airline related alcohol incidents were in the news, including 'drunken and unruly Tinkerbell and Bob the Builder removed from Ryanair flight by armed police', and an EasyJet flight cancelled due to a group of stag do revellers treating the plane ‘like a nightclub’. The Telegraph. Airline arrests are up 50% according to the BBC. Our alcohol and travel conference takes place next week [19 September].

Research and surveys

High proportion of alcohol industry revenue comes from heavy drinkers

A study highlighting the proportion of alcohol consumed by heavy drinkers says the industry rely on them for profit and therefore cannot have genuine motives for promoting 'responsible drinking'. As 77% of all alcohol is drunk by those drinking above the 14 units per week guidelines, the industry could lose £13 billion in profit if all drinkers stuck to the guidelines. The Guardian.

Half of people ‘don’t know what responsible drinking is’

'Around half of people don't know what responsible drinking is' according to a survey by the Priory. It found that 48% of people weren't aware of the 14 units a week maximum set out in the low-risk drinking guidelines. The Metro.

Hangovers are worse than we thought

Hangovers can have serious effects that last into the following day, with significant consequences for activities such as driving and working, new research finds. The hangover is the most commonly reported negative consequence of alcohol use and is already estimated to cost the UK economy £1.9bn a year due to absenteeism, reported the Independent.

New research on impacts of alcohol outlet density

New research indicates that alcohol outlet density is linked to alcohol-related hospital admissions, reports ITV news. The areas in England with the most pubs, bars and nightclubs had 22% higher hospital admission rates for chronic conditions linked to drinking, such as liver disease, compared to those with the lowest density of alcohol vendors.

Research finds energy drinks could worsen the effects of binge drinking

Research on mixing energy drinks with alcohol suggests they could 'worsen the negative effects of binge-drinking', according to ITV news. Taurine seemed to increase the fear-reducing properties of alcohol, but also affects social communication.

Other news

Alcohol problems in universities

A 'quarter of students know someone at university who they believe is an alcoholic', reported the Independent, while the BBC reports suggestions that every University 'needs' Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. AA says the number of younger people attending their meetings is on the increase – but some responded that the headlines were misleading.

UK vs US responses to sports stars’ alcohol-related incidents

The issue of UK sports stars in the news following reported alcohol-related incidents has been contrasted with the hard sanctions imposed on US athletes found guilty of similar offences. Carwyn Jones, a professor in sports ethics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, said that a permissive drinking culture pervades much of elite sport in Britain and that it is time for a change. The Guardian.

GPs 'double' the amount you tell them you drink

GPs will 'double' the amount you tell them you drink according to the Telegraph. It follows a survey of doctors by Direct Line Life Insurance. ‘Patients should be reassured that GPs are medical professionals, highly trained to have sensitive, non-judgemental conversations about anything that might be affecting their overall health and wellbeing’, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, responded.

The UK’s most expensive pint

The UK's most expensive pint, 'speedway stout', will set you back £22. The beer, made in California, contains Blue Mountain Coffee from Hawaii as well as other expensive ingredients. At 12% ABV a full pint packs nearly seven units and per millimetre is 'more expensive than luxury Belvedere vodka', reports the Independent.

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