The Doctors in Unite conference focussed its attention on the destructive effect of alcohol this year, and committed to making tackling alcohol harm its key priority for 2020.
There are over 80 alcohol related deaths each day in the UK, and over a million hospital admissions a year are associated with alcohol use. In England, alcohol is the leading cause of ill health, disability and death in people aged 15-49.
Yet only one in five people who could benefit from treatment are in specialist care.
There is a sinister imbalance in alcohol’s impact on our society. Despite on average consuming less alcohol, those with greater socioeconomic disadvantage experience more alcohol related harm.
This inequality must be acknowledged. Our union stands shoulder to shoulder with everyone whose life has been impacted by alcohol. We urge for meaningful, non-stigmatising change that prevents alcohol harm and provides treatment to those in need.
The World Health Organisation recommends tackling the key drivers of alcohol harm: price, promotion, and availability.
Industries involved in the manufacture and distribution of alcohol have a responsibility to change their practices, and local and national governments have a duty to listen and to act.
Doctors in Unite suggests:
Empowering local communities to make decisions about alcohol licensing.
Protecting children from exposure to alcohol advertising.
Targeting policy at the cheapest, strongest alcohol that causes the most harm.