Home > A sobering thought: the scale of alcohol harm and what we can do about it.

Turning Point. (2023) A sobering thought: the scale of alcohol harm and what we can do about it. London: Turning Point.

PDF (A sobering thought)

Alcohol harm is a complex issue – as a society we have mixed and sometimes contradictory views about whether alcohol is a good or a bad thing. Independent expert assessments of risk, rate alcohol as more dangerous than ecstasy, amphetamines, tobacco and LSD and yet it is not a controlled substance. For many people, drinking alcohol is enjoyable and causes very little harm. The alcohol industry is a powerful lobby and successive UK governments have been reluctant to regulate the market. And yet we know that long term alcohol use can cause liver disease, heart conditions, stroke, and seven types of cancer including breast, mouth, and throat cancer. Deaths from liver disease have increased by 400% since the 1970s and the pressure placed on NHS as a result of alcohol use is considerable. In 2021-22, alcoholrelated admissions alone cost the NHS around £1.16bn.

Alcohol causes significant and increasing harm to individuals, families and communities. 17% of domestic violence perpetrators have a history of alcohol dependence and around 1 in 3 of offenders in all sexual assault cases were under the influence of alcohol. Parental alcohol use is a factor in 16% of child protection cases.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction, Crime prevention, Policy
September 2023
29 p.
Turning Point
Corporate Creators
Turning Point
Place of Publication
Turning Point receives funding predominantly from UK Government contracts and grants
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