Why we need an effective Alcohol Strategy

An effective plan to reduce the harm caused by alcohol in the UK is urgently needed.

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All references can be found in the full Alcohol Charter, which you can download at the bottom of this page.

Alcohol is harming the health of people across the UK

  • Every year there are more than a million alcohol-related hospital admissions in England.
  • If you are aged 15 to 49, there is no greater risk factor to you for premature death, illness and disability than alcohol.
  • In England there are now more years of working life lost to alcohol than to the 10 most common cancers combined.
  • Liver disease deaths in the UK have increased by 400% since 1970.

Alcohol is harming our communities

  • More than 40% of all violence in England and Wales is alcohol-related.
  • 75% of police officers and 52% of ambulance staff have been assaulted by an intoxicated person.
  • There are almost 200,000 children in England living with at least one alcohol-dependent adult.
  • More children call Childline concerned about a parent's drinking than for any other reason.

The more we drink, the more harm is done

  • Alcohol consumption in the UK has doubled since the 1950s.
  • In England, there are currently over 10 million people drinking at levels which increase their risk of health harm.
  • Enough alcohol is sold for every drinker to drink more than 20 units each week - substantially more than the Chief Medical Officer's low-risk guideline of 14 units per week.

This harm comes at a cost

  • Unless consumption levels change, alcohol is set to cost the NHS £17 billion in the next five years alone.
  • In England and Wales, alcohol-related crime costs up to £11 billion a year.
  • The total societal cost of alcohol misuse is between 1.3% and 2.7% of the country's GDP - a bill not covered by alcohol's tax revenue.

The Alcohol Charter sets out effective and workable policies to include in the Government’s new Alcohol Strategy. It has been endorsed by over 30 organisations across the drugs and alcohol sector, and has received cross-party parliamentary support.

Find out more

Download pdf

Download the full Alcohol Charter

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