News roundup: May 2019

June 2019 | 6 minutes

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

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

In the news

Anniversary of minimum unit pricing in Scotland

A range of media reports covered Scotland's minimum unit pricing (MUP) one year after it came into force. The BBC asked if the new alcohol laws had changed drinking habits, whilst others, including The Times, implied the policy was not working, pointing to rises in consumption. Other outlets, however, reflected nuances, including larger consumption rises in England coinciding with the hot summer and the football World Cup, and big hits on specific drink types such as white cider in Scotland. See APUK's analysis MUP one year on: speculation, spin & evidence? and our blog on the topic.

Britons top tables for alcohol use

Britons 'get drunk' more often than 35 other nations, The Guardian and others reported, following Global Drug Survey 2019 findings. Britons get drunk an average of 51 times a year, compared to an average of 33 times across all respondents. Britons also topped the table for cocaine use. Harry Sumnall, of Liverpool John Moores University, warned of the harms from the drug 'especially when mixed with alcohol'. See APUK analysis of the GDS findings here.

Tony Adams opens up about alcohol problems

Former England footballer Tony Adams has spoken about his alcohol problems, crediting Alcoholics Anonymous and talking therapy with helping to improve his mental health, get sober and quit alcohol. Adams spoke about his experience on a BBC Hardtalk interview, saying alcohol “gave him a good hiding.”

Calum Best speaks out

Calum Best has spoken about how his father's fans are reluctant to talk about his alcohol problems. His dad, footballing legend George Best, died of alcohol-related problems in 2005. Calum, who has been active in campaigning for children affected by parental drinking, said “I have found that people only want to hold [him] at this iconic level of ‘hero’. So if you speak about the alcohol side sometimes people don’t like that."

Alcohol-free bars on the rise

A BBC report has featured the 'Rise of the sober bar', exploring bars in New York and London - where alcohol-free Redemption bar now has three locations. In January, The Virgin Mary, an alcohol-free pub, opened in Dublin. It suggests such bars often function as “second living rooms for apartment dwellers with little space” appealing to those who “for whatever reason, would prefer not to drink.” Meanwhile, Heineken's alcohol-free beer is being trialled on tap, reports The Sun.

Research

Red wine lowers blood pressure – in mice

New research has shown that a molecule found in red wine may lower blood pressure - in mice - reported The Express. However, the BHF point out scientists have been largely unable to translate the effects of resveratrol to humans and “for a human to consume the same doses of resveratrol used in the study, they would need to drink around 1,000 bottles of red wine a day.”

Doctors turning to alcohol to cope with stress

Doctors are turning to drink, binge-eating and prescribed drugs to cope with the mounting stresses of their jobs, reports The Guardian. Researchers found that one in three medical professionals used alcohol to feel better, one in five used it to cope with a stressful event, while 5% were alcohol dependent. “Our research shows that 55% of doctors have burnout and this has real health consequences. Doctors are not to blame for having burnout. It is a normal, human reaction to external stressors.” said Dr Caroline Kamau, who co-led the study.